COMMENT by Will Butcher
It’s been a busy week for Leeds in the transfer market as manager Garry Monk continues to reshape his Elland Road squad.
The 38-year-old confirmed the signing of Spanish international Pablo Hernandez as his seventh new recruit, who joins from Qatari side Al-Arabi SC and teams up with Monk for the second time after their time at Swansea.
It’s not been all good news for Leeds fans though, after Charlie Taylor’s agent reportedly handed in a transfer request after refusing to negotiate a new deal at Elland Road. The 22-year-old has just 12 months remaining on his current deal.
Experienced former Cagliari defender Gabriele Perico is also being considered after being taken on trial by Monk, following his release by owner Massimo Cellino’s old team.
Monk makes his competitive debut as Leeds manager on Sunday as the Whites travel to London to face Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink’s QPR, but questions remain on how they will line-up.
Seven new faces have walked through the Elland Road gates this summer, including the likes of veteran goalkeeper Rob Green, League Two Player of the Year Kemar Roofe and Sporting Lisbon winger Hadi Sacko, but who will make the first 11?
Subs: Marco Silvestri, Sol Bamba, Gabriele Perico, Matt Grimes, Toumani Diagouraga, Hadi Sacko, and Chris Wood.
Former Valencia star Hernandez is set to start in the number 10 role, after losing a yard of pace needed as a winger during the latter years of his career.
His experience will be key to connect the mobile wingers Kemar Roofe and Stuart Dallas, but questions remain over the latter’s fitness as he has only recently returned from his extended break following his Euro 2016 campaign with Northern Ireland.
Perico has not yet put pen to paper at Elland Road, so versatile full-back Gaetano Berardi might fill the void left by Charlie Taylor if he leaves or is omitted following his reported transfer request.
England international Green is set to replace Italian Marco Silvestri who has been told to train with the under-21’s, while club captain Sol Bamba could lose out to new signing Kyle Bartley.
Matt Grimes and Toumani Diagouraga may have to settle for a place on the bench, while new signing Marcus Antonsson could start over Chris Wood after an impressive pre-season.
If Taylor is to be left out, 32-year-old Perico could be offered a contract, and may join the likes of Silvestri, Bamba, Grimes, Diagouraga, Sacko and Wood on the bench.