Leeds United opinion: The Whites should snap up Ander Iturraspe
According to Spanish news outlet El Desmarque, Ander Iturraspe may consider the chance to work with Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa again. The Spaniard, 30, is a free agent after being released by Athletic Bilbao at the end of last season.
He amassed close to 390 appearances across all competitions for the La Liga club after making his debut at the age of 19. He isn’t short of offers and the report claims that some Spanish clubs are keen to snap up the defensive midfielder.
But Ander Iturraspe won’t be against a move to Leeds United, who are expected to mount another promotion challenge under Bielsa next season. The Whites surprisingly missed out on Premier League promotion, despite being in the top-two spots for the majority of the 2018/19 season.
They struggled a lot, especially in the second half of last season due to fatigue and injury to key players. That should have come as a lesson for Bielsa, who must have a big squad to sustain an entire Championship campaign.
Also, the Argentinean manager must ensure he keeps hold of the core of last season’s squad. One of Leeds’ standout performers, Kalvin Phillips has caught the attention of newly-promoted Premier League outfit Aston Villa.
Phillips proved himself to be fantastic at Elland Road and one that flourished in Bielsa’s system. The 23-year-old was a revelation for the Whites, impressing in the defensive midfield role last term.
Bielsa will be keen to keep hold of Phillips, knowing how influential he was in the Leeds midfield but it’ll be difficult for the midfielder to turn down the chance to join a Premier League club.
It remains to be seen whether the 23-year-old stays at Elland Road or leaves; however, Bielsa shouldn’t take any chance and snap up Ander Iturraspe as a potential replacement for Phillips.
A defensive midfielder by trade, Iturraspe managed just five appearances for Bilbao across all competitions in the 2018/19 campaign due to injury problems. He was a consistent performer for Bilbao over the last few years and also had thrived under Bielsa at San Mames.
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A consistent and reliable presence with the ball, the 30-year-old can unlock defences from deep effortlessly.
Iturraspe’s reading of the game is exceptional and he works really hard in the engine room to provide the creative players with the freedom they generally need. Add his volumes of La Liga experience to his technical skills and Leeds would get a top player in the 30-year-old.
Leeds clearly need to make some improvements if they are to get over the line in the pursuit for Premier League football. Iturraspe, on a free transfer, would be a huge coup for Bielsa and the Whites.