Grading Leeds' summer deals: Arsenal starlet gets A-, Spurs man struggling

Leeds summer signings

Leeds United bolstered their ranks with six loan signings this summer ahead of Marcelo Bielsa's second Championship campaign.

Leeds United's Manager Marcelo Bielsa arrives during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Brentford at Elland Road on August 21, 2019 in Leeds, England.

After missing out on promotion last season, plenty of Leeds fans seemed extremely concerned when it became apparent that the likes of Pontus Jansson and Kemar Roofe would be leaving Elland Road during the summer.

The pair had been key men during Marcelo Bielsa's first campaign in charge, and the concerns were not alleviated as the only additions to the first-team squad came from the loan market.

However, despite losing their most recent game, it looks as though Leeds are going to be in the promotion mix in the Championship once again this year, with a number of the signings already looking like smart additions to Bielsa's ranks.

 

And with the international break presenting the fans with an early chance to take stock of the season so far, here is how HITC Sport would grade each of the signings that the Whites made during the summer based on what they have shown so far...

Jack Harrison

Along with Ben White, Harrison became Leeds' first addition of the summer when it was announced that he had returned for a second loan spell. The club confirmed on their official website that they have the option to make his deal permanent, and it appeared in pre-season that there would be every chance that Leeds would look to keep him beyond next summer.

The winger was outstanding in the friendlies, and opened his account for the new season on the opening day. Unfortunately however, the youngster has not quite kicked on and is yet to add another league goal or contribute an assist. He does appear to have stepped up his game though, so it would be no surprise to see his form improve as the season continues

Current grade: B-

Ben White of Leeds United runs with the ball during the Sky Bet Championship match between Stoke City and Leeds United at Bet365 Stadium on August 24, 2019 in Stoke on Trent, England.

Ben White

When Jansson left for Brentford, fans had their concerns about the young centre-back who had not played at a level higher than League One. White however, has been nothing short of a revelation at Elland Road. He has been a contender for man of the match every time he has stepped out on the pitch, and his understanding with Liam Cooper is developing rapidly.

While Leeds supporters will continue to struggle to understand the thinking behind accepting the fee that took Jansson to Griffin Park, the fans clearly believe that they have an even better player in White, who reads the game so well and has a remarkable amount of composure for a 21-year-old centre-back. 

Current grade: A

Jack Clarke

Clarke has not had the easiest time since returning to Leeds on loan in the wake of a permanent move to Tottenham Hotspur. The winger has not been involved in a matchday squad for a Championship game since Leeds added a sixth loanee to their ranks. 

He has been involved for the under-23s and started both of the club's Carabao Cup games, but is yet to rediscover the form that he showed when he burst onto the scene last season. He is in a tough position, and may be relying on injuries if he wants to get a prolonged run of games anytime soon. Spurs fans may well be frustrated with his situation and wondering whether he can be brought back in January. 

Current grade: C

Helder Costa

Helder Costa is yet to start a league game for Leeds, but he has provided glimpses of his quality when he has featured. It was his assist that decided the game against Brentford last month, and he nearly bagged a stunning goal at the end of a brilliant move away at Stoke. The Portuguese would score his first Leeds goal against the same opposition in the Carabao Cup days later.

It feels like a matter of time before Costa ends his wait for a league start. And based on what the fans have seen so far, it may be some time before his name does not appear in the starting lineup again.

Current grade: B+

Helder Costa of Leeds United during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Nottingham Forest at Elland Road on August 10, 2019 in Leeds, England.

Illan Meslier

Meslier's arrival was an intriguing one. While it was no surprise Leeds signed a new goalkeeper in the wake of Bailey Peacock-Farrell's exit, it did seem an interesting move to sign another young stopper on loan when Kamil Miazek and Will Huffer are also at the club. Lorient confirmed on their official website that Leeds have the option to sign the goalkeeper permanently.

He is yet to play for the first-team, but has definitely impressed when he has featured for the under-23s. As well as producing a penalty save on his debut, the youngster looked confident coming for crosses and clearly enjoyed having the ball at his feet. It is not difficult to see why Leeds may have felt that he would be a good understudy for Kiko Casilla given the Spanaird's style of play. His grade is largely based on the promise that he is showing.

Current grade: C+

Eddie Nketiah

With last season's top goalscorer leaving on deadline day, Leeds needed to pull something special out of the bag to ensure that they were not left short up front. And it appears that land something special is exactly what they did. 

Nketiah marked his debut with a goal against Salford City in the cup and followed that up with the winner on his league bow against Brentford. 

Three goals in five games in total is an exciting record given that he is yet to start a league game. Like Costa, it looks unlikely that he will have to wait too much longer for that first league start. And it would not be a shock if he returns to Arsenal in the summer having scored more goals than Roofe did in the year before his move to Anderlecht. 

Current grade: A-

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