Leeds warned dangers of ‘risk’ defensive signings, but Raphinha comparison shows what could happen

Alfonso Pedraza, Villarreal, October 2022 Credit: Alamy
Alfonso Pedraza, Villarreal, October 2022 Credit: Alamy

Former Leeds United man Paul Robinson has warned the club of the risks of two defensive signings, but also referenced the potential upsides of the snares.

Leeds have been playing Pascal Struijk at left-back all season. The Dutchman is usually deployed through the middle, but an injury to Junior Firpo meant he has been forced to deputise on the left.

Struijk has done his job aptly. Indeed, he is Leeds’ third-most utilised player in terms of minutes played this season.

However, there is a desire from the Elland Road outfit to sign an actual left-back. There have been links to a few, including: Kai Wagner, Josh Tymon and Raphael Guerreiro, among others.

Guerreiro seems the top option of those that have been linked. The full-back is a European Champion who has won 61 caps for Portugal, as well as having performed in the Bundesliga for years.

Another mooted addition to the left side of the defence is Alfonso Pedraza. The full-back played 14 Championship games for the Whites while on loan in the 2016/17 season, and has since broke into the Villarreal side.

Leeds’ chances of snaring the Spaniard were lifted recently, as Inter Milan – who were reportedly keen – dropped out of the race.

It was suggested that Leeds have become the only side that are after Pedraza.

Robinson details Pedraza, Wagner risks

Former Whites goalkeeper Robinson has detailed the risks of signing two of the left-backs they have been linked with – Wagner and Pedraza.

He feels the pair are not at the level that Leeds should be attempting to sign.

“They’re two players who I suspect most fans and pundits in this country know little about,” he told MOT Leeds News.

“You’re looking at a rough diamond again when you’re in a position where you need players who are ready to go.

“I’d like to see players who are tried and tested at the top level and not players who you hope are hitting the ground running.”

Indeed, Wagner has only played in the MLS in recent seasons, so adjusting could be a challenge. However, Pedraza has made 160 appearances in La Liga, in which he has scored 12 goals and provided 20 assists.

Those stats do not speak of a player who has not been tried and tested at the top level. He could certainly be a player that could thrive in the Premier League, and at 26, he should be reaching his prime.

Raphinha comparison made

However, Robinson did refer to Raphinha, when explaining that players plucked from nowhere can do well. The caveat to that was that those players are rare.

“Don’t get me wrong, they’ve had success with players like that before. Look at Raphinha. But rough diamonds don’t come around very often,” he said.

“For Leeds to secure Premier League safety, the importance is on signing a striker and a left-back.

“They have to get that right. Whether it’s Radrizzani or the 49ers to invest – however it’s going to work – they need strengthening.

“Wagner and Pedraza are risks because you don’t know how they’d react to the Premier League.

“Leeds need players that are statement signings, players that will almost guarantee performances every week because you know what you’re getting.”

Whether Leeds will go after Wagner and Pedraza remains to be seen. If not, whether or not they can secure a statement signing is another question.

In any case, additions in the January window could help them to climb away from the relegation scrap.

READ MORE: Leeds given green light as Prem attacker would ‘seriously consider’ Whites transfer, thinks insider

The article Leeds warned dangers of ‘risk’ defensive signings, but Raphinha comparison shows what could happen appeared first on Teamtalk.com.