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Remember the summer of Leeds United spending and you will probably remember seeing a wry smile on Victor Orta’s face. Who could blame him either?
The Spaniard had just broken the club transfer record to sign Rodrigo del Valencia but things almost ended in tears when the window was closed.
An agreement to bring Michael Cuisance to the club fell through due to a it has failed physician, while a legal battle was ongoing with RB Leipzig over Jean-Kevin Augustin.
The failed transfer of Cuisance will have brought great frustrations. The former Bayern Munich youth was as good as he was at the Leeds gate, but complications meant he returned to Germany and eventually signed for Marseille.
Leeds chose not to sign anyone else, but the January window has given them a chance to make amends. They could do it by signing the versatile Chilean Erick Pulgar.
Should Leeds sign Thumb this month?
The Fiorentina midfielder has become a option for Leeds this month and if they hired him it would be a great deal.
Thumb is the definition of a pit bull in the middle of the park and would combine the best elements of Kalvin Phillips and Mateusz Klich. That alone should make Leeds fans stand their ground.
The 26-year-old has not been able to find the net this season, but in 2019/20 he was an all-powerful lynchpin for La Viola in Serie A. He scored. Seven times and logged six assists in the process. While hitting those stats in the final third, Thumb also offered a lot on defense.
Doing 66 tackles in the highest Italian category, produced two tackles per game. For context, that’s just 0.3 fewer challenges per game than Phillips. Klich, meanwhile, completed 1.9 tackles on average, so the two players are incredibly alike.
Clearly, the 24-game cap has a lot to give, something typified by Cesare Prandelli. “It has good physical geometry, it is powerful,” said the Italian. commented.
However, to get a better opinion of the midfielder, you only need to read the words of journalist Tim Vickery, someone who previously assessed his suitability for Leeds. He, once set: “Erick Pulgar is a defensive midfielder, he plays for Fiorentina in Italy and, in fact, in recent years, he seems to have added goals to his game.”
He continued: “He’s been ghosting into the area, he’s tall, he’s versatile, and if there’s something to this then I think he would be an asset, I think he would be a solid citizen to bring into Leeds central midfield.”
This would certainly be an intriguing addition, one that Orta simply has to make to help his manager.
Phillip and Klich are clearly important players for Leeds and given the amount of football Leeds will have to play between now and the end of the season, adding more bodies will certainly help.
You only need to see how Leeds lost 3-0 to League Two Crawley to understand that there is a lack of quality throughout the team.
Thumb could therefore enter the Leeds side to replace Klich, which in turn could help Bielsa rotate without losing as great a degree of quality as he did last weekend, as Klich would be a more than capable rotation option.