May 24, 2024

The competition for promotion from the Championship is fierce and the January transfer window, including Leeds United and Daniel Farke among others, could have a significant impact on how the top four teams finish the season.

Although the team may have hoped for a calmer window than the summer, they may have a busy January window of departures due to a lot of peripheral players who may require regular game time to grow.

During the summer transfer window, the Whites did not hesitate to add some elite players, as Joel Piroe and Ethan Ampadu both arrived at Elland Road for substantial sums of money. That can also be an indication of the club’s plans for January to come.

But, Phil Hay of The Athletic reports that all four of the teams—Leicester City, Ipswich Town, Leeds, and Southampton—are getting ready for the winter transfer window, which opens in a few days. Farke has stated for some time now that he is “expecting” a relatively quiet January for Leeds in the transfer market, possibly because he is content with his current squad following a busy summer. Here, we evaluate three distinct transfer market conundrums that the team will have to deal with next month.

Willy Gnonto’s future

Leeds cannot afford to stagnate in the knowledge that their opponents for promotion won’t, and this will be especially true if any important players, like Willy Gnonto, depart the team.

The Italian winger’s future is uncertain, therefore Leeds needs to be prepared in case he decides to leave West Yorkshire in search of a better opportunity.

Since Farke has been using players like Crysencio Summerville and Dan James in wide offensive situations, he has not been used as much as he would have liked, thus a return to the field is possible.

While players like Darko Gyabi, Lewis Bate, Leo Hjelde, and others may leave, none of them have been used regularly by Farke and are no longer needed. Nevertheless, whether starting or coming off the bench, Gnonto and the others should continue to be an integral part of his plans.

The Whites have a chance to profit from the 20-year-old, but they will need to use the money from any possible trade to pay for a successor. In order to stay up with the other teams vying for promotion to the Premier League, Leeds needs to strengthen, not weaken, their core group of winger options, excluding fringe players.

Junior Firpo situation

Even though the Whites’ roster has fewer problems than other teams in its second division, there are still some areas of concern. At left-back, there’s a specific problem that requires immediate attention.

Firpo has spent the whole of the season battling with his fitness; he only made three appearances in November before getting hurt again. There, Sam Byram has served as a stand-in, but he is occasionally plagued by small problems as well. Neither has a very impressive injury history that is trustworthy starting in January.

Priority one must be a full-back choice who is a specialist and a natural left-sided player. Since Byram is right-footed, Farke would benefit from having another left-footer to expand his choices.

At a recent pre-game press conference, Hay disclosed that Leeds’ manager had indicated they could now look to acquire a left-back, adding that they had contemplated doing so prior to learning of the team’s additional injuries.

In January, Farke made it clear that he was considering hiring a left-back, even before Byram or Firpo sustained an injury. Firpo is almost ready to resume training, according to Farke.

Leeds’ first team needs to fill a few more holes and strengthen certain areas, but none more than left-back, where Djed Spence has recently had to step in when other players couldn’t play. As the lone left-footer, Firpo is simply unreliable for extended periods of time.

Charlie Cresswell needs game time

Charlie Cresswell could benefit from a loan move to play regular first-team football since he is having difficulty gaining playing time with Leeds this season.

Since Leeds was relegated to the Championship this season, the 21-year-old may have hoped for greater opportunities, but he has found it difficult to fit into Farke’s plans.

Being fourth choice isn’t good for him or the team, but the Whites have shown less resilient defensively when Liam Cooper or Cresswell had to step in for Joe Rodon or Pascal Struijk in the middle of their defense. With Cresswell being less mobile and athletic than the other players and not being as well-suited to Farke’s style of play, that duo has developed into a formidable one.

Only one Championship game and two EFL Cup fixtures have been started by Cresswell. In the 101st minute of the 1-0 victory over QPR on October 4, he was substituted out of the game. He has now played for the team for just over 300 minutes this season.

He signed a new contract in August that would keep him committed to Elland Road until 2027, but in January, it will still be unclear what exactly his future in West Yorkshire entails. The youth product could be better off going on loan to play frequently at the senior level and continue to grow, like he did with Millwall the previous campaign.

Naturally, if Leeds approved any kind of departure, a successor would have to be found.

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