Leeds United's Toumani Diagouraga
It didn’t take long for Garry Monk to decide that Tounami Diagouraga would not be part of his plans at Leeds United. In fact, 90 Championship minutes appeared to end the rangy midfielder’s first-team prospects at Elland Road.
The 30-year-old started as Leeds were swept aside 3-0 by Queens Park Rangers on the opening day of the second tier season. And he was forced to wait five months before he next set foot on a football pitch, a loan move to Ipswich Town in January giving Diagouraga some much needed game time.
It’s fair to say this is not how the powerful enforcer would have envisaged his Leeds career. After all, he only signed a two-and-a-half year deal as recently as January 2016, The Whites warding off interest from Rangers for the Brentford midfielder.
However, with Monk now departed, handing in his resignation after the end of the season, you wonder whether Diagouraga will be handed a fresh start.
A new manager usually means a clean slate after all. Just ask Victor Moses. And Thomas Christiansen will be wanting to look at all of the players at his disposal before moulding the squad in his own image.
Only the third manager in Leeds’ history from outside the UK and Ireland, the Danish tactician is a disciple of Johan Cryuff, the deity of possession football, having learned his trade under the legendary Dutchman during his playing days at Barcelona.
Yet, that does not mean he is averse to a direct, counter-attacking style. His unfancied APOEL knocked Athletic Bilbao out of the Europa League last season by utilising pace on the break and quick transitions.
Therefore, Diagouraga could come in handy. An underrated passer with the ability to break the lines with thrusting, forward-thinking balls, the Frenchman could be a useful lynchpin at the heart of Christiansen’s midfield.
He’s certainly a better distributor than the likes of Kalvin Phillips or Liam Bridcutt, destroyers rather than creators.
Therefore, his Leeds career may not be over just yet.