Leeds United’s need to sign a new central defender was reinforced earlier this week as Marcelo Bielsa was forced to start a makeshift defence against Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium.
Liam Cooper’s injury in the pre-match warm-up forced Bielsa to reshuffle his back-four with Luke Ayling moving into central defence and Jamie Shackleton slotting in at right-back. The new-look defensive unit were carved open by Swansea at times but they still did extremely well under the undesirable circumstances as Leeds clinched a vital point in south Wales.
However, Bielsa cannot continue to rely on players to play out of position this season, so the signing of a new centre-back should be at the top of his agenda in the coming days. And according to a recent report from Football.London, they have a fantastic opportunity to sign a new centre-back on a free transfer.
Following reports from The Sun which claimed West Ham were close to re-signing James Collins, Pellegrini declared “we are not bringing any more players in” before explaining that Collins has been training with the Hammers whilst he looks for a new club.
Pellegrini’s admission that he is not interested in signing Collins suggests that the coast is clear for Leeds to offer the free agent a contract this summer.
With 50-caps at international level for the Wales national side and 279 Premier League appearances, Collins would bring a level of rich experience to the club which would make all the difference in their bid to clinch promotion this season.
The physically commanding centre-back is force to be reckoned with and would naturally become a leader for the club both on and off the field and, whilst he is not accustomed to the possession-based philosophy which Bielsa is attempting to implement, he has the defensive capability to make up for any potential technical shortcomings.
In short, Collins would be a shrewd addition to a defensive unit which is in desperate need of further strength in depth if Leeds wish to maintain their early season promise, and Pellegrini’s admission should give Bielsa the encouragement he needs to offer terms to the Premier League veteran.
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