Samu Saiz has been a mainstay in Leeds United’s number ten role so far this season and his creative quality has been integral to the success of Marcelo Bielsa’s philosophy.
He may not boast the prolific record in-front of goal which earned him a transfer to Leeds United in the 2017 summer transfer window but Saiz remains a firm favourite at Elland Road. In terms of creative instinct and incisive passing, Saiz’s quality is almost unrivalled and he has managed to maintain his place in the starting eleven throughout the season thus far as a consequence.
However, neither Bielsa or Saiz should begin to rest on their laurels at this stage in the season as there is still plenty of work for both men to do before they can be regarded as indispensable cogs in the Leeds machine. Indeed, for all of Saiz’s excellence there is no doubting that questions need to be asked about his failure to find the back of the net this season.
It’s an area of his game which requires improvement, and the arrival of a player of star quality may well provide the healthy competition he needs to fully prove himself at this level. With that being said, Bielsa should urge Victor Orta to begin making contact with Manchester City regarding a potential loan move for Phil Foden.
Bielsa’s personal relationship with Pep Guardiola may well give him an advantage in the transfer market, whilst the parallels which can be drawn between the philosophies of the aforementioned managers could play into Leeds’ hands. Guardiola has previously made it clear that he wants to keep Foden in Manchester so he can monitor his development and ensure he is receiving a footballing education of the highest standard, but under Bielsa he would be exposed to familiar ideas and possession-based concepts.
The bonus for Foden would be the increased access to first-team opportunities and, based on the flashes of brilliance he has demonstrated at both club and international level, he could offer an upgrade on Saiz – even with no prior Championship experience at 18-years-old.
Naturally, there is guarantee that Foden would become an instant success at Elland Road, but on the evidence of his career so far it’s difficult to see anything other than a glowing spell in Yorkshire if Bielsa and Orta can work their magic in January.
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