Leeds United have announced their first – of hopefully many – signing of the January transfer window, with Max Wober joining the Whites on a four-and-a-half deal from Red Bull Salzburg.
According to The Athletic, Leeds have spent around £10 million on the Austria international. It looks to be a potentially shrewd move for Jesse Marsch’s men, with Wober able to play at centre-back and left-back.
With that in mind, here is a look at the potential winners and losers from Leeds signing Wober…
Struijk has done brilliantly at left-back this season considering that that is not his natural position. The Dutchman has taken to the role extremely well. And if push came to shove, he would probably be capable of seeing out the season there.
However, the 23-year-old is arguably one of our best centre-backs. And Wober has been playing on the left for Salzburg this season. So this move may allow Struijk to move back into the middle before too long.
Victor Orta is clearly a big admirer of the Red Bull network. He has now made a number of signings from their respective clubs. And Wober is the latest.
But this deal feels like a victory for Marsch too. He knows the player from his time managing the Austrian side. And he may feel that bringing in another player who knows what he wants from his team will only help as he continues to implement his style at Elland Road.
It is ominous for Firpo that he has been kept out of the side by Struijk since returning from injury. He has been a very underwhelming signing who has struggled for both form and fitness.
Wober is naturally a centre-back. But given his experience at left-back, it is hard not to think that Firpo may be about to fall further down the pecking order.
Cooper deserves enormous credit for how good he has been in the Premier League. He was our best centre-back last season. And he has done reasonably well this year, too. However, some would view Cooper’s importance to the current defence as an indicator that we simply have not moved forward since promotion.
If Wober is coming in to play at centre-back, it will likely be Cooper’s spot he is vying for. And given the amount of players we already have in the middle, it is hard to see Wober being signed simply to provide depth.
To be determined:
The next few weeks will help decide which category Leo Hjelde falls into. Like Wober, the Norwegian is a centre-back who can play on the left.
You would think therefore, that his arrival would be bad news for the former Celtic man. But Hjelde is not playing a lot already. So if Wober’s arrival leads to a loan move, it could actually be good news for the youngster.