The recent summer window saw Leeds United lose two notable figures in the form of Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha, with the pair having moved on to pastures new to Manchester City and Barcelona, respectively.
While the addition of Tyler Adams has swiftly eased the loss of Phillips, with the 23-year-old having “stepped right into his shoes” according to pundit Noel Whelan, the void left behind by the aforementioned Brazilian may well prove harder to fill.
The former Stade Rennais man – who made the move to Elland Road back in the summer of 2020 – scored 17 goals and laid on 12 assists in 67 games in all competitions for the Whites during his two-year stay, with such stunning form unsurprisingly leading to his £55m exit to Catalonia.
Amid that exit, reports over the summer had suggested that Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic could well be one man to help replace the departed Raphinha – with the forward having seemingly been angling for a move away from Stamford Bridge – albeit with no such deal materialising.
A fresh approach for the 24-year-old in January could well be what is needed for Jesse Marsch and co to fill the creative hole in the side, with CBS reporter Ben Jacobs having stated last month that a deal for the former Borussia Dortmund man could well be a “possibility“.
Although the Hershey-born ace has endured a tough start to the campaign with the Blues – having made just five starts in all competitions thus far after falling out of favour in west London – the 5-foot-10 dynamo is undoubtedly a “massive talent”, in the words of ITV pundit Gary Neville (25/11/2022, 18:36)
The 55-cap sensation – who arrived in England on a £58m deal back in 2019 – has showcased that quality on the international stage of late after producing a string of sparkling displays at the World Cup, with the United States international having been integral to guiding his nation out of the group stage.
The fleet-footed wizard notably teed up teammate Timothy Weah on matchday one with a cute, threaded pass to fire Gregg Berhalter’s side ahead in the draw with Wales, before again playing a starring role in the encouraging goalless draw with England.
That outing saw the £150k-per-week man prove a real livewire down the left flank after notably hitting the woodwork with a fierce strike on his left foot, before also illustrating his defensive acumen after winning six of his nine ground duels and 100% of his total duels.
Having “showed his class” against the Three Lions, in the words of pundit Jamie Carragher, Pulisic then made a telling impact in the final group game against Iran to steer his side into the knockout stages, showing real bravery to poke home at the back post in that 1-0 victory.
While that goal ultimately led to his withdrawal at half-time due to injury, prior to that the wide man had been particularly eye-catching, winning three of his five ground duels, while also showcasing his creative class after providing two key passes.
Amid reports that the player’s current side could open to an exit in the winter window, potentially on loan, it would seemingly make real sense for the Yorkshire side to try and get him through the door, with Marsch no doubt keen to add another of his compatriots to his ranks, after already signing both Adams and Brenden Aaronson in the summer.
In need of a new talisman after Raphinha’s summer exit, Leeds could well find their next leading figure in Pulisic, with the American superstar seemingly thriving amid the responsibility of being the undisputed main man for his country.