As a team that attacks with gusto, the Leeds United full-backs are given pretty much free roam of the wide areas. They bombard the opposition, attacking from all angles with crosses, passes, shots, and runs off the ball. However, despite having two strong full-backs for the left-hand side in Barry Douglas and Ezgjan Alioski, it looks like Leeds will lose both in the summer. Alioski has knocked back a new deal with Leeds and looks set to complete a controversial move to rivals Galatasaray.
However, Douglas will be moved on as he is surplus to requirements. Despite playing well at Championship level, Douglas isn’t quite top-tier talent and thus could be moved on. This would open up a crucial position for Leeds to fill, though, which might lead to more than a few players being linked. One name previously mentioned is Romain Perraud, the French full-back who is known to be a set-piece wizard. For now, though, the main thing is that Leeds will be short two first-team full-backs and will need to make some quick signings.
More galling for the club, though, is the likelihood that they will struggle to recoup much value for either player. Alioski has been a good performer in the top-flight and would normally fetch a fee in the £5-10m range on the market. Instead, he is likely to walk out of the door for nothing, which will leave Leeds with quite a decision to make in the summer.
Douglas was signed from Wolves in 2018 and has enjoyed some impressive games in white, but also some really inconsistent times and play. Goalless across his 44 games in Yorkshire, the attacking full-back has failed to live up to the creative quality he showed when playing for Wolves.
What happens next?
Douglas is currently on loan at Blackburn Rovers, and it is hoped that the Lancashire outfit will look to keep him on a permanent deal come the seasons end. He will be a free agent, too, so that will make it pretty tough for Leeds to get any kind of funds back. Given they committed just £5m in funds to the two full-back signings when they first arrived, though, it’s hardly a huge loss of profit.
With both players having played their role in one way or another, too, there isn’t much to fret about for Leeds fans. The two players were fine enough servants and have contributed enough to justify missing out on the transfer fees. However, it will be intriguing to see how Leeds look to shape-up and change the style for the season to come.
Rampaging full-backs are a big part of the game, so it would be interesting to see what kind of profile Leeds target and can capture. In what promises to be a really busy summer for the club, keep an eye on the left full-back position, as it could dictate a massive amount about the business Leeds do moving forward.