According to TeamTalk, Leeds United want to bring Daryl Dike in on loan, and that’s an incredibly exciting prospect.
Dike was one of the stars of the Championship last term, netting nine goals in 19 appearances for Barnsley after joining on loan in January, but it’s the Tykes’ style of play under Valerian Ismael that should have Leeds fans excited.
Yes, Ismael’s teams are all about making the most of set-pieces and playing physically in both boxes, but out of possession, his teams are amongst the most intense in England.
Ismael plays a brand of football that has been dubbed ‘swarm-ball’ and it’s mesmerising to watch.
During Dike’s time at Barnsley he was tasked with pressing relentlessly, covering the hard yards and making sure he knows his role off the ball.
Perhaps Ismael’s style is best summed up in his own words:
‘My first rule is intensity, to work as a swarm – if one slips, we’re all dead,” The Frenchman once told The Times.
In terms of intensity, Ismael is one of very few managers who can measure up to Leeds’ Marcelo Bielsa, and last season, Dike was his crown jewel.
Dike only joined in the January, but it didn’t take him long to get up to scratch, and that’s down to the fact he was willing to soak up information from Ismael.
“You quickly pick up on the intensity factor. You can already see the culture, the family, the guys are close and willing to work hard for each other. They’re willing to play the model the coach has set up. The staff are super-helpful, trying to make players understand their role,” Dike said about learning Ismael’s style.
The American played his role perfectly. He combined immense physicality with an unbelievable attitude, and in a Leeds system he could wreak havoc.
Yes, there are some elements of his that need tuning, but those technical attributes can be coached into him by Bielsa and his staff.
Dike may not have the technical ability of someone like Raphinha, but there are few players in Leeds’ squad that can match him in terms of physical attributes and intensity.
Just imagine how Dike would fare in Bielsa’s famed Wednesday ‘murderball’ sessions, after playing in Ismael’s ridiculously high-intensity system, he’d probably dominate.
The Argentine would adore Dike if Leeds pull this one off.