Leeds are now reportedly in the race to sign Burnley defender James Tarkowski on a free transfer – and here are three reasons why he need to complete the surprise move. Tarkowski is out of contract at the end of the month.
The Mail claim Everton are confident of landing Tarkowski this summer with the defender unlikely to sign a new deal after relegation. But Leeds, Leicester, Newcastle and Villa are also said to be keen on Tarkowski.
Yes, the one area in the Leeds squad that does have options is centre-back. But Charlie Cresswell could do with a loan and there are question marks over the form of Diego Llorente, and Liam Cooper at times.
Tarkowski is an England international with huge Premier League experience – just six appearances shy of a huge 200. Signing him on a free saves cash for other areas of the squad, like a striker.
New era under Marsch
One may argue that Tarkowski does not have the footballing ability to play for Leeds. There is truth in the belief that Tarkowski is more of an old-school defender; his forte is not with the ball at his feet.
But it is a lot better than perceived – proving as much with Burnley boss Mike Jackson playing a bit more possession-based football than Sean Dyche. He is solid, and Leeds need organisation at the back.
Aids midfield cover
In either Marsch’s 4-2-2-2 system, or his 4-2-3-1 line-up, the American likes to use two more-defensive minded midfielders. It allows the four attackers to play with freedom in the final third.
So, bringing in Tarkowski would free up Robin Koch and Pascal Struijk to play more in midfield alongside Kalvin Phillips. But are adept at doing so, and another body in the defence could actually aid depth in midfield.
Perhaps the most-important of the three reasons why Leeds need Tarkowski.