Leeds United look set to welcome Kiko Casilla to the club by the end of the week, but murmurs emerging from Elland Road suggest that their winter transfer activity will not start and end with the 32-year-old goalkeeper.
The injury problems which have manifested themselves at Leeds this season are not standing in the way of their promotion bid, but with an opportunity to bolster his ranks this month Marcelo Bielsa should be looking to exploit a crucial window in the context of his entire career.
Bringing in a player to challenge Bailey Peacock-Farrell appears to be the priority, but a report from the Yorkshire Evening Post on Monday indicated that Swansea City’s Daniel James could also be a target this month.
And further substance has been added to that particular story by Sky Sports’ North England reporter Tim Thornton, as he confirmed Leeds’ interest in the 21-year-old while speaking on Sky Sports’ Transfer Talk podcast.
“The one player that stands out – we understand they’re keen and there’s certainly interest in Daniel James, who is a winger who plays for Swansea and is a Welsh international. He could be the player that Leeds pursue in this January transfer window.”
Thornton went on to add: “There is interest and he is the one that could come in in addition to the goalkeeper if everything goes to plan in the next couple of weeks”
Some supporters may have reservations about their interest in an unproven prodigy, who only made his debut at this level at the beginning of the season, particularly given Leeds could be playing top-flight football next season.
But Bielsa has showcased both his talent for stimulating individual improvement in players, such as Matseuz Klich and Pontus Jansson, and a willingness to give youth a chance in the first-team.
That the Argentine signed five players in the summer aged 24 and under and has since handed opportunities to teenagers Jack Clarke, Jamie Shackleton and Leif Davies – albeit out of necessity rather than choice in some instances – is a testament to the faith he places in young players.
These factors perhaps explain why Bielsa is intrigued by James’ impressive performances on his debut season at this level, and if Andrea Radrizzani is willing to sanction a deal there is no doubt he has the man-management ability to take him to the next level.
Leeds fans cannot expect instant fireworks from James if he makes the switch from south Wales to Yorkshire this month, but he could blossom into a fantastic talent under Bielsa.
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