Leeds are finally back in the Premier League and their return will undoubtedly be one of the biggest talking points this summer.
The Yorkshire club did have a few rough patches in the Championship last season but a strong finish ensured they will be entering the upper echelon as champions.
Anyone who has watched the team this year will know full well that the mastermind behind their form has been Argentinian manager Marcelo Bielsa.
But will the specialist be enough to keep Leeds in the Premier League next season?
In this post, I share my thoughts on what are the team’s strengths and what needs to be done in the summer to ensure they don’t drop to the Championship again.
Is This Leeds United Team Good Enough for the Premier League?
This is one of the first questions that comes to mind when a team gets a promotion to the EPL.
In the last decade, some clubs have been obsessed with buying when they go up and to be honest, it hasn’t always worked. In fact, it has failed miserably most of the time.
There are quite a few recent examples such as Fulham and Watford who were successful in bringing in a lot of talented international players but the chemistry never really came.
On the flip side, clubs like Sheffield United and Wolverhampton opted to keep their core and were able to build on it while retaining the camaraderie within the group.
Watching Leeds United this season, and knowing how Bielsa wants to structure his team, I believe the Whites will be following the same route.
This, of course, doesn’t guarantee that they will be able to beat off the competition but it can be crucial for the players who made them champions last season.
There are several guys who haven’t really been given the chance to prove themselves in the EPL such as Patrick Bamford, Helder Costa, and Pablo Hernandez.
Assuring they are still key cogs in the team can go a long way and Bielsa knows this full well.
It isn’t a surprise that Leeds United finally got promoted in a season where team chemistry, leadership, and taking responsibility in tough moments were synonymous with their style.
On paper, the team has probably had better squads in past seasons but despite going close on a couple of occasions, all of them ultimately failed.
Will Leeds Manage to Retain their Premier League Status Next Season?
For me, it’s all about Bielsa maximizing the potential of his core. I do think they need reinforcements but the key players they already have can really thrive if the manager hits the right notes with them.
Captain Liam Cooper and former Arsenal defender Luke Ayling have built a great partnership at the back and are definitely among the players of the season for the team.
The club also decided to hand a permanent deal to Helder Costa which I believe is another crucial move.
Costa never really recreated the form that made him the most valuable player in the Wolves side that got promoted a couple of years ago, however, Bielsa fully recognizes the potential of the Portuguese international.
Him, alongside the main striker Patrick Bamford, will be absolutely fired up to show they have the credentials to be successful at the top level.
Another very important ingredient is the club’s goalkeeper. Kiko Casilla has been rock-solid during all of last season and he boasts both the confidence and experience to not be fazed by the most elite strikers in England.
There is possibly a couple of reinforcements needed in the centre of the field to give the team’s technical side a bit of a different dimension.
But overall, this is a squad that is ready to die for their manager on the pitch and despite not boasting world-class quality, I’m certain they will be very hard to beat especially at home.
I won’t be surprised at all if Bielsa is as successful as Nuno Espirito Santo and Chris Wilder have been so far, as he seems to understand how to get the best out of his players and is also one of the most thorough and tactically astute managers in the game.
There could always be rough patches when going to the Premier League but the club finally looks to have a plan on how to go forward. The players all seem to be on board and I doubt BIelsa will risk rocking the natural balance he has been able to achieve with this group.
So, I believe that there won’t be any groundbreaking transfers for the team this summer but there may well be quality additions that can fit in straight away given how adept Bielsa is at finding and shaping talent.
It will definitely be an exciting year with the Whites back in the fold.
Their Argentinian manager has completely transformed the culture of the club and it would be unwise to dismiss their chances of getting to the same heights Wolverhampton were able to reach since their own return to the top level.