Noel Whelan has claimed fitness levels will play a “huge” part in the hunt for new players at Leeds United this summer. 

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Whites striker admitted Marcelo Bielsa needed to make sure new recruits could cope with his demands before signing.

As reported by The Athletic’s Phil Hay, Leeds want to sign as many as five new players ahead of next season.

Bielsa has rarely rotated his starting XI this season, partly due to a lack of squad depth at Elland Road.

Midfield mainstay Mateusz Klich, speaking to Polish publication Sportowe Fakty, revealed the intense demands had led to fatigue and minor injury problems.

The Poland international is one of six players who have made 29 appearances from a possible 31 this term.

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As such, Whelan admitted players’ fitness levels could be crucial to the Whites’ transfer plans this summer.

Whelan told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “They’ve got to have the requirements that match what Marcelo Bielsa wants.

“That’s not in games but more importantly in training, so you can learn what is required.

“It’s all about education with Marcelo Bielsa. It is not just about training. It’s educating these players in those specific roles, those team roles. Everything that’s required to get the best out the individual and the team collectively.

“Fitness is huge when they’re looking to recruit and sign new players. Can they withstand not just the 90 minutes but the training that’s required as well?”

Leeds United

Stuart Dallas has played the most minutes of the Leeds squad this term, closely followed by Luke Ayling.

Eight players have played 24 times or more in the Whites’ 29 Premier League games.

In other news, Gabby Agbonlahor has begged Leeds United to sign the “perfect” replacement for Pablo Hernandez.