As previously reported on The Leeds Press, Mateusz Klich could potentially be leaving the Whites in January, but could this be a potential mistake for Leeds?
The Polish midfielder joined the club in 2017 from FC Twente, and while initially not pulling up any trees, and being loaned back to the Eredivisie, he has proven to be a valuable and loyal servant to the club. Playing over 30 games each season for the past four seasons, Klich has shown he is a competent player at both Championship and Premier League level. While Klich has not featured as much this season, and with most of his appearances coming off the bench, it could be argued that his time at Leeds is naturally coming to an end.
The Whites may be looking to younger players such as Roca, Adams and Greenwood to be midfield mainstays for the future. However, it could be argued that these players do not possess the pragmatism that comes with experience, which Klich has in abundance. Klich came on in the second half against Newcastle in a cagey, and at times fearful affair this past weekend. Leeds had their backs to the wall for a lot of that second half and looked unable to break up Newcastle, creating the feeling that a goal was imminent. However, with Klich’s experience, he was able to slow the game down and break up the flow of Newcastle just by using his know-how rather than his on field abilities. Up until that point, Leeds were finding it hard to slow Newcastle down. Having a player who can be gritty and can slow things down may be a far cry from the Bielsa football we became accustomed to, but in the current situation Leeds find themselves in, having someone who can help grind out points is vital.
Squad Depth Concerns?
Last season saw a plague of injuries to the team, and it is no secret that that was partially down to a very small squad. Selling Klich in January with no guarantee Leeds would sign someone in his place seems risky, and surely it would be better to keep a player on the ranks who is a known quantity rather than risk either not replacing him altogether or replacing him with someone that doesn’t work out. Klich still has a role to play in the team, be that on the pitch or off the pitch, and it would be unwise of Leeds to get rid of him especially considering that due to his age, he wouldn’t command a large fee.
Keeping Klich Happy
One of the main reasons Klich may want to leave is due to his omission from the World Cup. A lack of starting games may have caused the Polish international to miss the gaze of the National Team coach when deciding who to take to Qatar. In addition, the lack of minutes at this advanced stage of Klich’s career may have him wanting a move away to get more regular football. At 33, he may not be happy coming off the bench and may see this as his last chance to earn a contract at a club who he could consistently start for. However, based on inconsistent performances this season across the team, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Klich could become a starter for Leeds again. He still has a lot to offer both creatively and possesses a relentless work-rate, and even at 33 many would argue he doesn’t yet look out of place at the top level.
At this stage of the season, when the Whites aren’t fully comfortable, it seems reckless to part ways with such a loyal and consistent servant to the club. While it could free up wages, the departure of Klich wouldn’t guarantee significant new signings, and so surely it is safer to stick with a player who is familiar to the club, where the team know his capabilities and strengths. With the January window now open, only time will tell whether Klich stays or goes, and which direction the Whites decide to go in when progressing through the season.