The story Georginio Rutter could repeat, Leeds United problem and boss quandary: David Prutton
Leeds United have spent a heck of a lot of money to sign Georginio Rutter from Hoffenheim.
Breaking the club’s transfer record at this time also blows apart the opinion that Leeds don’t spend money in the January transfer window! You’ve got to defer to the scouting departments and the recruitment department to hope that they’ve done the due diligence with regards to a player such as this.
It’s not a direct comparison by any stretch of imagination but he will hopefully be a player that can cause problems to the opposition like a Raphinha. And did we know too much about Raphinha before he got stripped for Leeds? Probably not I’d say.
We knew of him being a good player but the proof was very much in the pudding and he was worth every penny by virtue of scoring the goals that kept Leeds up. With a player such as this, Leeds can look towards the mutually beneficial aspects of him playing well for Leeds and then possibly the knock on effects of him being a very good player that then suddenly becomes hot property for them to make a load of money on him as he moves on. That sounds slightly cynical but you’ve got to look at that given the age of the player in being very, very young.
Leeds have paid a heavy premium, a big premium in Leeds’ terms, maybe not in the grand scheme of football terms but £28m in the real world is obviously a heck of a lot of money. But there is a premium there obviously for the potential that he could possibly realise. There is an element of risk and a gamble with any transfer, especially when you look at Rutter coming to this country.
But his work in the Bundesliga might put him in good stead and he has also been at Rennes so we are not talking about a player that has come from the other side of the planet. He is a player that has been very much ensconced in European football so the pressures and the conditions that come with playing on this side of the globe will be things that he knows all about.
They might sound like trivial things but they can be a big difference when it comes to players settling in. I can fully understand the excitement of the fans and I’d like to think part of it as well is that thrilling trepidation of just what he is going to be like in a Leeds shirt.
When it comes to attacking options, Leeds now have Rutter, Patrick Bamford, Rodrigo, Wily Gnonto, Crysencio Summerville, Jack Harrison, Brenden Aaronson and Joe Gelhardt which is a wonderful plethora of players that offer different things and ones that are coming to the fore at different times.
Bamford has had a year-long nightmare or more with injuries and it was great for him to get back on the scoresheet in Friday night’s defeat at Aston Villa. Gnonto was wonderful against Villa and more of that please.
Aaronson, I feel, needs to be a bit more robust and whether that’s something that is worked on in a very old fashioned way with strength and agility work, maybe there is something in that. Joe obviously is a perennial quandary with regards to where he plays and how long he plays and what chance he’s got to show what he can bring to the side.
With Rodrigo, maybe the signing of Rutter takes the pressure off him being the record signing and he can just concentrate on scoring goals. Then there are the likes of Summerville who is a young and still unproven lad. With Harrison also there, it is quite clear that they have covered a lot of bases and now it’s just about fitting three or four of them into the team going forward.
We know that Leeds are also assessing the situation with Angers midfielder Azzedine Ounahi but at the moment the same mistakes are being made in defence. It’s not hard to score against Leeds United. If you can say that in the Championship when you know you are going to outscore teams then fair enough. But to say that in the Premier League when you can get ripped apart is very, very naive.
We heard everything that Jesse Marsch had to say about Friday’s performance at Villa and he was right because it was a good performance But you don’t get a pat on the back or points for just having a good performance You’ve got to be really clinical, you’ve got to be decisive at both ends of the pitch and attritional at the back and they are not that at the moment.
Whether you bring in another midfielder to help shore up and protect the defence, possibly. With the way that Tyler Adams played at the World Cup and what he has done for Leeds and also the way that Willy Gnonto is playing, you have got two players there that people will be looking at in January so there’s a case of making sure that your best players stay, obviously. But I think as a back four/back five/back six Leeds are just too easy to score against.
If Ounahi is a good midfielder for them then great. What we saw from him in the World Cup was very workable in a team that was wonderfully hard working and who went into every game as underdog. Given Leeds’ status in the Premier League, they would go into most games as the underdogs because of how young they are in the recent incarnation of being a Premier League side.
Ounahi would be a good addition but the travails are at the back, as has been the case for a season and a half now. Jesse absolutely needs a win from one of these next two league games against Brentford and Nottingham Forest, neither of which are easy, and I’d even put Wednesday’s FA Cup replay at home to Cardiff in with that as well.
Leeds had a better second half showing in the 2-2 draw at Cardiff but they are still a side that are not hard to score against by any stretch of the imagination. If you are a fan, that is something that you are very very wary of.When you look at the table, Leeds are 14th. Great. Absolutely happy days. If it’s that at the end of the season then that’s a wonderful season for Leeds. But it’s very tight with the points and the teams in and around them.
The form of West Ham and Bournemouth is helping Leeds and also Everton and the toxic atmosphere around there. Southampton look like they might be turning a corner and I saw Forest against Leicester on Saturday and Forest can cause you problems. Brentford can also cause you problems and Leeds also have the game against Man United on the horizon. If you get a Man United side that is absolutely surfing the crest of a wave then, once again, it’s very very tough.
There’ll be no easy way for Leeds to stay in this division this season and everyone in the bottom half of the Premier League is potentially in a relegation battle until the last knockings in May. There’s no respite. There’s no hiding from it and two wins from the last 17 games is a shocking run of form but then the question comes of if not Jesse then who?
There’s plenty of good managers out of work but whether these are good managers that are willing to put their CVs or reputations on the line taking over a club that is still very much finding its feet is another matter. Leeds United is obviously a massive part of top flight football as an institution but the club is still bedding itself back in the Premier League and these first few seasons will all be about consolidation. Jesse can’t legislate for his team not being clinical enough nor defensively sound. But, as ever, the buck stops with the manager.