Noel Whelan believes Gaetano Berardi could be offered a new Leeds United contract in the future, however he does not think the defender would feature often for the club if they were playing Premier League football next season.
Speaking to Football Insider, the ex-White questioned just how good the former Switzerland international was and appeared to suggest he would be nothing better than a squad player for Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
“I think at the moment it’s about letting Gaetano get on with it then assessing him up until Christmas time,” he said when asked about a potential new contract.
“We’ve got Liam Cooper out injured and after Berardi’s red card against Millwall was rescinded, he has the opportunity to go out there and put in some performances to earn that new contract from Leeds United as he can prove to the club that he is a player they need.
“To be quite honest, I don’t think he’d be good enough to be a regular for the first-team in the Premier League, I think we’ve seen many teams go up, for example, Villa this season, that have changed both centre-halves as you can bring in new players with that money you get from promotion.
“So I can’t see him being a regular in the first-team if we do get promoted to the Premier League.”
There really is not an argument to be had with Whelan’s view here as it does not appear as though Bielsa would try and counter it either.
As the former White pointed out, Berardi is getting a run in the side whilst Cooper is out on the sidelines – the captain has also seen his performances rewarded with a place in Scotland’s national side in the past and a new contract, whilst Ben White has been a mainstay in the side since joining from Brighton and Hove Albion on loan this summer.
Indeed, the 31-year-old has had his injury problems since being at Elland Road, which has limited the opportunities that he has had, as he missed 27 games for Bielsa last season (TransferMarkt) and has only gone on to make six appearances for the Whites this season – if he were good enough for the Premier League, you would have to imagine he would be playing more regularly.
Berardi also may have rattled some of the Leeds hierarchy with his comments in times that have gone by, with the player said to not care about some of the criticism that had come from board members in the past (Yorkshire Evening Post).
Whilst White is expected to go back to Brighton, or perhaps join Liverpool as recent rumours link the Premier League giants with him, it would not be a surprise to see the Elland Road outfit look to make a number of additions to their backline if they do manage to get to the top-flight.
As Whelan pointed out, Aston Villa changed their defence once they won promotion and it would not be shocking if Bielsa (or whoever is in charge at the time) looks to replicate what the Villans did.
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