Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa has been told that out-of-contract attacking midfielder Adam Lallana would be a “perfect” addition to his team following their promotion the Premier League.
Between wins over Whites over Barnsley and Derby County on Thursday and Sunday, Leeds’ promotion and status as Championship title-winners was confirmed by defeats for rivals West Brom and Brentford on Friday and Saturday respectively.
Leeds conclude their campaign at home to Charlton on Wednesday night (7.30pm kick-off) and will then begin their plans for their first top-flight campaign since 2004.
Bielsa will undoubtedly be keen to strengthen his squad to boost their chances of surviving the drop next season, and Liverpool’s Lallana – who will be available on a free transfer after his contract expires – has been recommend as an ideal recruit.
Lallana has been restricted to just nine Premier League starts over the past three seasons due to injuries and competition for places at Anfield but remains highly thought of by Jurgen Klopp.
He has produced 22 goals and 22 assists in 178 appearances for the Reds having been one of their most important players in the German manager first full season at the club.
And former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy is confident that the England international, who has eight years of Premier League experience, still has plenty to offer in the top flight.
Though he turned 32 in May and has suffered fitness woes, Murphy thinks Lallana – who can play in central midfield, as a deep-lying playmaker or out wide – offers the kind of energy on the pitch and character off it that would be hugely beneficial.
Writing in the Daily Mail, he said: “Marcelo Bielsa will not change how Leeds play in the Premier League. He doesn’t strike me as the type to be sidetracked from what he believes in, and nor should he.
“High-energy football has won the club promotion in the first place and gives them the best chance of staying up. Chris Wilder has shown at Sheffield United there is nothing wrong with trusting a system and personnel to work a higher level.
“But that doesn’t mean Leeds can be naive and not strengthen their squad in order to be competitive in the top flight.
“Sheffield United have almost been a one-off, an extreme version of making very few changes from the Championship, but even they bought a couple of fresh strikers, Lys Mousset and Oli McBurnie, who’d both played Premier League football.
“And they added a wealth of experience into the dressing room with Phil Jagielka, despite him not being a starter. You can’t underestimate the impact Jags would have had on the lads around him.
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“The trick for Bielsa is to find the right players without detracting from what he’s got. Ideally, Leeds will bring in some Premier League knowhow this summer, and those players will compete for first-team spots.
“Though Sheffield United have been phenomenal, clubs usually struggle if they have too many players untried and untested at the top level.
“It cost Fulham when they were relegated last season and Norwich have just suffered the same fate. When Aston Villa made a lot of signings last summer, not enough were proven in this country.
“Leeds have a terrific crop of young players headed by Kalvin Phillips. Jack Harrison and Ben White have excelled on loan and hopefully Leeds can keep them.
“But the top flight is unforgiving and those young lads will need calm heads around them during the difficult times.
“Adam Lallana, out of contract at Liverpool, would be perfect. Great energy, good footballer, good attitude.”
Murphy also believes left-back Danny Rose, currently on loan at Newcastle from Tottenham, could be an option for the Yorkshire outfit having come through Leeds’ academy.
And he thinks improvement is needed up top, despite former Chelsea and Middlesbrough striker Bamford having scored 16 goals in the Championship this season.
The 26-year-old only has one Premier League goal from 27 appearances, albeit none since 2017.
Murphy continued: “Danny Rose is a Leeds boy. He’s been a top left-back for a long time. Maybe he’ll want to go home.
“Up front, I like Patrick Bamford but he has struggled a little bit at Premier League level in the past. They are going to have a look at a striker to help him.
“None of this means tearing up the Bielsa playbook or the current squad, far from it. I like coaches who develop players and don’t moan because they can’t go into the transfer market every week.
“Mauricio Pochettino, who attributes Bielsa as a mentor, improved individuals at Tottenham and Bielsa has made his players better at Elland Road.
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“He believes in his ability on the training pitch. You can see the determination with which Leeds play and that comes from the manager.
“I think it’s refreshing and I’m fascinated how this coach with a global reputation copes with the next challenge.”
The Daily Telegraph meanwhile claim Leicester, Brighton, Burnley and Everton are all keen on Lallana while Arsenal, Tottenham and Southampton are other clubs linked.
Former Leeds defender Danny Mills told Football Insider: “I think he’ll have plenty of choices. He’s now back at full fitness – that’s really why he hasn’t played an awful lot.
“He could even go back to the likes of Southampton.
“There’ll be loads of clubs looking to sign him up on a one or maybe a two-year deal, because he’s got quality. He knows how to keep the ball, he can create.
“It’s not long ago that he was in the England squad and playing for England, so he’s still there or thereabouts. He’ll have plenty of options.”
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