Ibrahim Sissoko would give Bielsa's Leeds United a plan B

Marcelo Bielsa, manager of Leeds United looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Reading and Leeds United at Madejski Stadium on November 26, 2019 in Reading, England.

Leeds United are still flying high at the top of the Championship but another goalscorer wouldn't go amiss.

Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa reacts to going 2-0 down during the Carabao Cup Second Round match between Leeds United and Stoke City at Elland Road on August 27, 2019 in Leeds,...

For a team who produce a steady stream of crosses, Leeds United don’t exactly have a designated targetman in their ranks; a battering ram of a striker who is going to steam into the penalty box and thump a bullet of a header into the back of the net.

Patrick Bamford, for his qualities, his improved hold-up play and the blood, sweat and tears he so willingly sacrifices in pursuit of three valuable points, is not a striker who thrives on crosses. As Leeds fans will tell you, a day out at Elland Road isn’t complete until their number nine flicks at least one presentable headed chance looping into the south stand.

Eddie Nketiah, meanwhile, is a natural-born penalty box poacher, rather than someone capable of leading the line on his own and keeping Leeds’ possession play ticking over. That, in truth, is why the Arsenal loanee is yet to start a Championship game under Marcelo Bielsa.

 

So while Leeds’ esteemed tactician doesn’t really believe in ‘plan Bs’, it's tempting to view Leeds' apparent interest in Ibrahim Sissoko as an acceptance that the Whites could do with a different sort of presence in attack.

Someone who is capable of bullying and occupying defenders like Bamford, hitting the net with ease like Nketiah, all the while offering the sort of height and aerial ability that Luke Ayling and co are crying out for from the wings.

Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips celebrates scoring the opening goal with Luke Ayling during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Birmingham City at Elland Road on October...

Standing at 6ft 3ins, the Niort targetman is comfortably taller than any of the forwards Bielsa has worked with since he first put his backside on the bucket in the Elland Road dugout.

Sissoko, who has scored nine goals in 14 games this season and been linked via FootMercato, appears to reflect an acceptance of the fact that, if you’re going to sling crosses into the box, you might as well give Ayling, Jack Harrison and Helder Costa something to aim for.

Leeds fans show their support prior to the Sky Bet Championship Play-off semi final second leg match between Leeds United and Derby County at Elland Road on May 15, 2019 in Leeds, England.

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