Leeds United may not need to sign an alternative to Kalvin Phillips, claims one of their former players, because another member of the squad can perform the same role.
It has been a positive first season back in the Premier League for Leeds. They have been mathematically safe for some time and are on their way to a mid-table finish. Soon, their attention will turn to planning for next year when they hope to consolidate.
It turned out recently that their priority for the upcoming transfer market is signing a defensive midfielder. Phillips remains one of their key players, but when he is not available, they have struggled.
For example, on Saturday lost 2-0 to Brighton, when Robin Koch – originally signed as a center-back – played a role in Phillips’ absence.
Despite Leeds suffering that day, expert Noel Whelan believes Koch could be an alternative to Phillips in the future.
“I’ve seen enough from Koch to suggest he could play that role in the long run,” he said Football Insider.
“Even though he has only played in that position a few times, you can see that he has the capabilities to do so. I have no doubt about that.
“He was competitive in midfield against Brighton. He got on the ball and tried to find space.
“However, I felt sorry for him because it is difficult to measure whether he can play in that role in the long run when everyone else is playing below par.
“I can not be 100 percent sure that he can underestimate Phillips on that show because everyone around him was six out of 10, and some of them not even.
“Could Koch step into an international role? The signs are encouraging. I think he has all the qualities. ”
Bielsa worried about Koch
However, there are doubts about the long-term future of the German international.
Although Leeds only invested in him last summer, a report last month claims Bielsa was in doubt about his suitability.
Football Insider claimed Koch had been demoted to fourth-choice center-back behind Diego Llorente, Liam Cooper and Pascal Struijk.
It was suggested that Bielsa believes he needs to “win up” and that he is “too soft” to succeed in the Premier League. Concerns were also raised about his neglect of air challenges.
But there may still be hope for a man who signed a contract until 2024 on his arrival in August last year.
READ MORE: Rangers ready for a new deal for fans’ favorite as Leeds target summer raid