Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United are dreaming of Premier League football – but Mateusz Klich could have joined Middlesbrough instead under Victor Orta.
Leeds United midfielder Mateusz Klich has admitted that he nearly joined Middlesbrough during Victor Orta’s final few days at the Riverside, speaking to the Whites’ official website.
If there is any player at Elland Road who owes his life to Marcelo Bielsa, it is this Poland international with seemingly boundless energy levels.
Klich barely got a sniff of first-team action under Thomas Christiansen but, once an experienced Argentine arrived and got comfortable on that iconic bucket of his on the West Yorkshire touchline, the former Twente talisman was a man transformed.
The 29-year-old has started every single Championship game since the opening day of the 2018/19 season, helping to guide a previously directionless Leeds side to the top of the second-tier table.
Middlesbrough, in contrast, are stuck in a relegation rut and it’s fair to say they could do with a midfielder with Klich’s snarling enthusiasm and underrated technical ability.
“My agent called me and said he had an offer from Middlesbrough, because Victor Orta was with them at the time. I was at FC Twente and I said if I get an offer from England we should consider it, but then the plan changed,” Klich says, with Orta’s move from Boro to Leeds in 2017 proving to be something of a sliding doors moment.
“I ended up getting an offer from Leeds United [after Orta arrived] and I was happier. Obviously (Boro) were a Premier League team at the time, but you knew they were going down.
“I don’t want to be disrespectful to them, but Leeds is a bigger club. After that, I agreed everything quickly.”
Just to rub salt into the wounds, Klich has scored three of his five league efforts this season against Middlesbrough. One of those, a picture-perfect curling shot which soared into the top corner during a 4-0 thrashing back in November, is surely a bonafide Goal of the Season contender.