Leeds learning from James saga as rising stars join Bielsa’s boys

Leeds United

It was well documented just how close Daniel James came to becoming a Leeds United player last January.

Stood at Elland Road with the Leeds home shirt in his hand, the plug on the move was pulled at the last moment by Swansea City’s then chairman Huw Jenkins.

The failed bid to land the Wales international left Leeds with no time to find a replacement and the West Yorkshire outfit were stung in a major way.

Of course Leeds went on to finish third in the regular season and suffered playoff semi-final heartbreak at the hands of Derby County at Elland Road.

Many Leeds supporters looked back on what might have been had the now-Manchester United winger James signed that contract at Elland Road and many would have been concerned by a quiet start to the current January window.

However, director of football Victor Orta was clearly not willing to risk the same debacle and Leeds have moved quickly in the last few days to snap up two exciting signings.

Ian Poveda secured his move from Manchester City on Friday amid plenty of interest in the attacking midfielder.

Leeds are believed to have battled off interest from Serie A outfit Torino to secure the services of the highly-rated 19-year-old.

The lure of working with Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa proved pivotal once again on Monday, as Leeds confirmed the signing of striker Jean-Kevin Augustin from Bundesliga frontrunners RB Leipzig.


Add to that the signing earlier this month of promising keeper Elia Caprile from Chievo Verona and it’s already looking like a very positive month for Leeds.

The Whites have been stuttering with their results over recent weeks and the fresh faces will be just what is needed ahead of the big push towards the business end of the Championship season.

Poveda and Augustin will have to work hard to get up to speed with the demands Bielsa has on his side but there is no doubting the potential both young players possess and how they can help bring more cutting edge to the Leeds attack.

The West Yorkshire side have been producing more chances than any other side in the division but putting those opportunities away has been the issue.

Patrick Bamford has been made the carry the burden in the goal department since Eddie Nketiah was called back from his loan deal at Elland Road by parent club Arsenal.

The arrival of Augustin should ease some of the pressure on Bamford which could be the key in bringing his best form back to Leeds as they push for that elusive promotion.