Imagine him & Raphinha: Bielsa must unleash “explosive” £16.2m-rated Leeds gem on Sun – opinion

Imagine him & Raphinha: Bielsa must unleash “explosive” £16.2m-rated Leeds gem on Sun – opinion

Leeds United are struggling to find form in the Premier League this season following an excellent 2020/21 campaign which saw the newly-promoted side finish ninth in the top flight.

Bielsa’s team have had to deal with a number of injury issues over the last few months, which is surely one reason for their slow start.

Patrick Bamford and Luke Ayling are still missing without a definitive indication of when they may be back. However, the Whites have seen the return of Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha in recent weeks, which will give them a boost in their upcoming fixture against Tottenham Hotspur this weekend.

One player who hasn’t been able to truly make an impactful presence in the teams so far is August signing Dan James.

Leeds signed the Welshman from Manchester United for £25m late in the summer transfer window, but despite getting an assist against Norwich, he hasn’t been able to unleash his full potential at Elland Road as of yet.

The 24-year-old winger spoke to FIFA.com about his time so far with Leeds, saying: “I’ve not reached my potential yet.

“I’m getting a lot more game time now and I’ve obviously got my own goals. I’ve got so much more I can improve on, so much more to give. Hopefully I’ll show that in the coming years.”

Leeds could really capitalise on the recent return of Raphinha by encouraging an attacking partnership with James going forward in their Premier League campaign.

The Welsh winger now has the opportunity to link up with the Brazil international, so Bielsa should unleash the £16.2m-rated gem to create a potential attacking masterclass, combining both players to enable Leeds to climb the table and secure their future in the Premier League.

James was hailed by former Manchester United team-mate Andreas Pereira, with the Brazilian midfielder saying: “He is so explosive and so fast. When you think about having to run to the ball, he’s very fast to it.”

Bielsa will be looking to add goals and targeting ways to be more direct in creative play, which he could easily unlock with James’ pace and Raphinha’s clinical finishing – the latter has struck five goals in 10 league appearances so far this term.

Leeds take on a tough challenge against Spurs this weekend, and Bielsa will be hoping that he can rely on his forward line to land a blow on Antonio Conte’s team.

In other news: Phil Hay confirms one Leeds injury blow before Spurs trip

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