Leeds United might not need to sign an alternative to Kalvin Phillips, one of their former players claims, as another squad member may fill the same role.
It was a positive first season in the Premier League for Leeds. They’ve been mathematically safe for some time and are well on their way to a mid-table finish. Soon their attention will turn to planning for the next year, when they hope to consolidate.
It recently emerged that their priority for the upcoming transfer market is to sign a defensive midfielder. Phillips remains one of their main players but when he’s not available they have struggled.
For example, on Saturday they lost 2-0 to Brighton, when Robin Koch – originally signed as center-back – took on the role of holding in Phillips’ absence.
Despite Leeds suffering that day, specialist Noel Whelan believes Koch may be the alternative to Phillips in the future.
“I’ve seen enough of Koch to suggest he could play this role in the long run,” he said. Football insider.
“Even though he’s only played in this position a few times, you can see he has the capacity to do it. I have no doubts about it.
“He was competitive in midfield against Brighton. He was getting on the ball and trying to find space.
“I felt sorry for him as it’s hard to determine if he can play this role in the long term when everyone is playing below par.
“I can’t be 100% sure he can pass Phillips on this performance because everyone around him was a six out of 10 and some of them weren’t even.
“Could Koch play the role of an international?” The signs are encouraging. I think he has all the attributes.
Bielsa worries about Koch
However, doubts persist about the long-term future of the Germany international.
Even though Leeds only invested in him last summer, a report last month claims Bielsa had doubts about his suitability.
Football insider claimed Koch was demoted to center-back fourth choice, behind Diego Llorente, Liam Cooper and Pascal Struijk.
It has been suggested that Bielsa thinks he needs to ‘get tough’ and is ‘too soft’ to be successful in the Premier League. Concerns have also been raised about its neglect of aerial challenges.
But there may still be hope for a man who signed a contract until 2024 when he arrived last August.
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