Why Leeds United targeting Reece Oxford is a clever move from them
Leeds United have struggled to have adequate depth in their defensive department, predominantly due to injury issues. The Star reports that the Whites are targeting a loan move for West Ham United defender Reece Oxford.
If we analyse Bielsa’s squad, they are short of first-choice centre-backs, with Liam Cooper and Pontus Jansson injured. This is forcing Gaetano Berardi and Luke Ayling, who are full-backs by trade, to occupy the central defensive role.
It is a risky prospect because, in Championship football, positional awareness and physicality of a centre-back need to be of high quality. It is natural for a fullback to switch off and/or not be physical enough against hefty forwards.
In addition, Bielsa is short of options in the full-back department as well, because two of them are playing in make-shift roles. Hence, signing a player for the season will work because the manager can rotate. The season is too long and tiring for a small squad to work through.
Given the fact that the system of football is of the highest intensity under Bielsa, the rotation of players is necessary.
Playing style – Reece Oxford
Oxford has played for Borussia Monchengladbach before and shown enough promise to get a move to West Ham United. He is comfortable on the ball and physical enough to handle the aerial pressure of the strikers. The 19-year-old is a very confident player for someone who is very young.
Since Leeds play in a system which is based on playing out from the back, Oxford won’t have to make many adjustments to his game to install himself into the squad. Bielsa also likes to give young players a chance to prove their worth, and coach them to become better.
Hence, the Englishman would find it easy to settle in and can choose to make the loan move permanent if and when he arrives at the club.
For West Ham, they have enough defenders for this season, so letting Oxford go to find experience in Championship football will help the player to develop well.
Hence, this is move would work well for all parties involved – the player and the two clubs would be happy with this deal.