Leeds United are on the verge of their most significant tweak to Marcelo Bielsa’s team since their promotion to the Premier League.
The imminent arrival of Michael Cuisance from Bayern Munich will alter the balance and shape of the side, if not the emphasis on attacking intent and ball domination.
The previous marquee new arrivals from Valencia of Rodrigo, from Real Sociedad of Diego Llorente and from Freiburg defender Robin Koch were all effectively like-for-like replacements.
Striker Rodrigo replaced 2019-20 striker loanees Jean-Kevin Augustin and, for the first half of the season, Eddie Nketiah.
Koch came in for Ben White and Llorente provides the third senior centre-back option following Gaetano Berardi’s shattering injury.
Cuisance is a statement signing who adds something completely new: a box-to-box midfielder who can dictate the play and set the tempo from deep as well as operate in tight spaces to link the attacks.
So, where will the France Under-20 international slot in to Bielsa’s team?
And, what does it mean for Mateusz Klich, Pablo Hernandez and Tyler Roberts, who currently occupy advanced central midfield roles?
It has been no secret in recruitment circles in recent weeks that Leeds were preparing to spend big on a “number eight”.
Extensive talks were held with Udinese over a deal for Argentina international Rodrigo De Paul, and Leeds tabled a number of bids that were rejected.
Cuisance does not have De Paul’s experience or proven international calibre but he operates in similar spaces on the pitch.
At Leeds, the plan is for him to compete for one of the two places in front of deep-lying midfielder Kalvin Phillips.
Effectively, the new boy will be vying with Klich, 35-year-old Hernandez and Roberts for a starting place.
Can Klich possibly maintain his ever-present status in the face of such competition?
With two goals already under his belt in this season’s Premier League and no signs his untouchable status has or will change, it could be the other position that is more open.
Like the other new signings Rodrigo and Llorente, Cuisance may have to be patient.
Bielsa’s demands for elite fitness and physical conditioning are non-negotiable and new signings who haven’t been starting don’t tend to walk into his starting XI.
The marquee capture may be watching Klich bust a gut for a few games before he gets his chance.
In other Leeds United news, it can be REVEALED that the club are plotting a shock move to sign forward Pochettino compared to Messi.