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Having failed to gain promotion this season Leeds manager Garry Monk is expected to oversee a clear-out at Elland Road. Several players have their loan contracts ending, including Pontus Jansson and Kyle Bartley, with Charlie Taylor choosing not to extend his stay too.
That makes their future defensive line-up look short of depth, to say the least; but it’s in the attacking areas that Leeds should fear. Alfonso Pedraza, Modou Barrow and Hadi Sacko are all set to leave the club in the coming days, leaving them worryingly short of support for Chris Wood.
So, given Garry Monk’s penchant for a 4-2-3-1 formation, Leeds badly need to find wider attacking options and quickly so. Step forward on-loan Leicester City winger Tom Lawrence. The Welsh forward who is currently on loan at Ipswich Town, is definitely on the up and is a man in demand. Back in January, both Leeds and Sunderland wanted his services and with the Wearside team now joining Leeds in the Championship, they would represent a big rival both on and off the pitch from now on.
Lawrence, although he can play on the right if needed, is comfortable in the centre or on the left of the attacking line-up and would fit straight into Leeds’ set-up. His better performances tend to come when starting on the left and this is an area where Leeds need reinforcements in immediately.
The man from Wrexham has managed 9 goals and 9 assists from 34 Championship appearances this season, contributing to a goal once in every 156 minutes which, for a player playing in the lower reaches of the league, is an excellent record. His pass completion rate of 71% doesn’t quite match up to that of the players who are leaving Leeds, though with a player like Wood to aim at and better midfielders around him to receive the ball, that figure will rise.
Stats which really catch the eye regarding Lawrence are his key passes and successful dribbles. In the league, this season, the winger has managed 2.4 key passes and 1.8 dribbles per game on average. Compare that to Sacko’s 0.7/1.8, Alfonso Pedraza’s 0.5/0.9 and Barrow’s 0.2 and 0.4 and you can see that Leeds would be getting, by far a better player than those leaving Leeds. Add his 9 goals and 9 assists into the mix and fans should be drooling at what might be an excellent outcome.
Given the sort of contribution Lawrence makes to the games – and he can still get better yet – it would become vital that Leeds hang on to star striker Chris Wood. With a better supply line and more support, Wood may still manage a 30-goal season despite more of an input from wider and deeper areas.