Bielsa To Bolster Leeds United’s Defence With Shrewd Signing

By timgarrett IN Championship,Transfers - 10:00 Jul 1st 2018

These are exciting times to be a Leeds United supporter, with the appointment of world-renowned coach Marcelo Bielsa providing genuine hope that the Yorkshire outfit can at last make their long-awaited return to the Premier League.

The Argentinian is nothing if not diligent, already watching tapes of all of his new side’s matches from last season, whilst strong relationships formed with the likes of Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino mean that some promising youngsters could be brought in on loan.

It would be a mistake, however, to assume that the former Athletic Bilbao boss would ignore proven Championship talent in his quest to secure promotion, with recent media reports suggesting that Brentford’s John Egan remains firmly on the club’s transfer radar.

A real leader at the back, it is a sign of the 25-year-old’s growing maturity that he was made captain of his current club in just his second season at Griffin Park, whilst his numbers over the course of the last couple of campaigns look pretty similar to those put up by Pontus Jansson:

John
Egan
VPontus
Jansson
BrentfordLeeds United
DEF   25Y 8M   6FT 1INDEF   27Y 4M   6FT 4IN
Aug 2016 - Jun 2018
EGAN
JANSSON
Starts
66
75
Minutes played
5879
6572
Goals scored
6
6
Goals with feet
0
1
Goals with head
4
5
Assists
2
1
Clean sheets
20
25
Goals against
81
89
Minutes per goal against
73
74
TOTAL
2
6

In fact, the minutes per goal against average for both centre-backs is virtually the same, albeit less than they would ideally like, whilst they have each weighed in with a valuable six goals at the other end of the pitch.

Were Egan to make the switch to Elland Road, then you would have to assume that Liam Cooper would be the man to make way in Bielsa’s preferred 3-3-1-3 system, with the 62-year-old usually only operating with a couple of out-and-out defenders in his back-three:

John
Egan
VLiam
Cooper
BrentfordLeeds United
DEF   25Y 8M   6FT 1INDEF   26Y 9M   5FT 11IN
Jun 2017 - Jun 2018
EGAN
COOPER
Starts
32
30
Minutes played
2851
2591
Goals scored
2
1
Goals with feet
0
Goals with head
2
1
Assists
1
1
Clean sheets
11
12
Goals against
36
37
Minutes per goal against
79
70
TOTAL
6
1

Given the central defender’s disappointing 2017/18 campaign, however, in which his minutes per goal against average was nine minutes shy of the Brentford skipper’s, many Leeds fans would not be too unhappy to see him replaced by the Republic of Ireland international.

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