Injury expert Ben Dinnery has shared his verdict on a change of approach from Leeds United in the transfer window this summer.
The lowdown: Decimated
Leeds were badly impacted by injuries throughout 2021/22 as both Marcelo Bielsa and more recently Jesse Marsch felt the full effect of being without key players.
The likes of Patrick Bamford, Liam Cooper and Kalvin Phillips all missed large parts of the campaign, whilst utility man Stuart Dallas was also ruled out of the Premier League run-in after suffering a terrible leg break against Manchester City.
After surviving on the final day of the season in spite of the regular absentees, Marsch has already acted to bolster the ranks at Elland Road and one well-versed onlooker has had his say on the incomings…
The latest: ‘Absolutely huge’
Speaking to Football Insider, Dinnery, the man behind the popular Premier Injuries site and a contributor for Sky Sports, has suggested that the capture of Red Bull Salzburg duo Brenden Aaronson and Rasmus Kristensen is ‘absolutely huge’ due to their durability – the pair have suffered just one and two career injuries respectively.
He said: “If you want to play in a set way, you need players who are fit for purpose. You need players who can deliver. Often overlooked in terms of a player’s attributes is availability.
“That’s absolutely huge. You could be the best player in the world, but if you’re only available for 50% of the time – you aren’t much use. I think that’s where Bielsa fell down, in my opinion. There never seemed to be any plan B.
“When you’ve got a solid nucleus of 13 to 14 players who are robust and can tolerate the demands of playing up to three times a week, then great. The problems for Bielsa occurred when he started to lose players like Phillips, Bamford, and Cooper. They just didn’t have the depth to compete – the demands were too much.
“Marsch has got an understanding of how he wants to play, and he’s going out to get players he knows can cope with the intense nature of the Premier League. It’s never going to be seamless for these new players, but he is mitigating the risk of being hit by injury again by making his squad bigger.”
The verdict: Spot on
Ultimately, the lack of reinforcements in the January transfer window would appear to have cost Bielsa his job when the squad was stretched particularly thin.
Perhaps somewhat set in his ways, Marsch’s innovative approach to the transfer market – which has already seen Orta land two players – is a welcome change from the Argentinian’s small squad mentality.
Time will only tell whether those new arrivals can flourish in the English top-flight, but there will at least seemingly be more options at the manager’s disposal in 2022/22.
In other news: Leeds now eyeing move for ‘lethal and sublime’ gem, read more here
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