Emile Heskey believes Leeds United could reach a whole new level if rumours linking them to Julian Draxler and Lucas Vazquez are true, speaking exclusively to HITC.
These are extraordinary times at Elland Road.
As recently as 2018, Leeds opted against bringing Derby County targetman Chris Martin to West Yorkshire amid concerns that he would break their wage structure (Yorkshire Evening Post).
If this most archetypal of second-tier hitmen was not worthy of such an exalted place in Leeds’ squad, the same cannot be said of a Spain international with a trio of Champions League medals on his mantelpiece.
Lucas Vazquez’s £148,000-a-week Real Madrid deal is due to expire in July and, after he turned down an extension last week (Marca), there appears to be a very real chance that a highly-decorated winger could swap the La Liga giants for the Premier League newcomers.
“You can’t count anything out because I would argue that the Premier League is the best league in the world. So people will be wanting to come here,” says former England striker Heskey.
In his view, the presence of a legendary tactician on the Elland Road touchline opens the door for Leeds to go where similarly-sized Premier League clubs would never dare to tread.
“When you’ve got a manager of the ilk of Bielsa, it turns peoples heads. People don’t necessarily go for the club, they go for the coach,” Heskey adds.
“Once one starts coming in, I think that’s the floodgates for more and more, especially when you’ve got a manager who plays some free-flowing football – probably too free-flowing for some!
“When you’re looking at the players they’re linked with, it would take them to a new level. But, again, you’ve got to have the manager to 1) attract them and 2) deal with them. And they have the manager to do that.”
Vazquez is not the only big-name attacker on Leeds’ radar. The Mail reports that Julian Draxler, the £37 million Germany international, is another decorating a star-flecked list of transfer targets.
Draxler has started just five Ligue 1 matches for Paris Saint-Germain this term and, with his place in Joachim Low’s team under threat ahead of the upcoming European Championships, the 27-year-old may be forced to move in order to secure the regular first-team football he needs.
Heskey, however, dismisses suggestions that Leeds would represent a substantial step down from PSG.
“When you say Leeds aren’t the same level (as PSG), when you’re talking about the league, Leeds have more eyes on them than PSG. PSG are a massive, massive club but the league isn’t overly competitive and it isn’t viewed as much as the Premier League,” the former Liverpool and Leicester ace adds.
“Any player (who wants to play for his country) needs to be playing regularly. Him sitting on the bench at PSG is going to do nothing for his chances of playing for Germany.”