With the 2018 FIFA World Cup almost upon us, all attention will be on the footballing extravaganza in Russia this month.
Strong performances in a World Cup can often work wonders for footballers’ careers. For example, James Rodriguez became a Galactico after his exploits with Colombia four years ago, as did Keylor Navas after a brilliant World Cup campaign with Costa Rica.
There are numerous other examples of footballers earning a solid reputation at the World Cup, meaning most clubs will keep an eye out for new talent during this one as well. Having said that, here are three players that EFL Championship outfit Leeds United should keep a keen eye on during the proceedings in Russia;
Kamil Grosicki (Poland)
The 29-year-old Poland international had a decent season for the struggling Hull City in the Championship, finishing with 9 goals and 6 assists in 37 outings. However, he seemed to drop out of favour with Nigel Adkins in the second half of the campaign.
Grosicki hinted at the possibility of leaving the club this summer and Leeds should consider monitoring his situation. The Polish wide man impressed during his six-month stint in the 2016/17 Premier League season with Hull, managing a tally of 5 assists in 15 top-flight games.
Capable of playing on both flanks, Grosicki possesses pace and is a good crosser of the ball as well. His presence out on the flanks would provide Leeds with an alternate dimension going forward.
Jonas Knudsen (Denmark)
The 25-year-old Danish international dropped a hint that he might consider his future with current club Ipswich Town, following the departure of manager Mick McCarthy at the end of last season.
Signed by McCarthy from Danish outfit Esbjerg fB in the summer of 2015, Knudsen has gone on to become a crucial part of this Ipswich Town side.
Primarily a left-back, the 3-time capped Denmark international can also play as a centre-half. Knudsen featured 42 times in the Championship this past season, managing to score a goal and set up seven more for his teammates.
Given Leeds’ woes at the left-back slot, Knudsen would represent an ideal solution for the Yorkshire-based outfit. And considering he has just a year left on his contract with Ipswich, he is likely to come on the cheap as well.
Kenneth Omeruo (Nigeria)
The Chelsea defender is yet to make his senior debut for the Blues, despite being on the club’s books for six years now.
During that time, he was shipped out on loan to various clubs like ADO Den Haag, Middlesbrough and Alanyaspor. He spent the previous campaign with Turkish outfit Kasimpasa, which was his second stint with the club.
Given the number of defenders ahead of him in the pecking order at Stamford Bridge, it seems unlikely for him to break into the first-team anytime soon. Omeruo might have missed out on first-team action with Chelsea so far, but the player has performed ably at all of his loan clubs.
At Russia, the player will be looking to add to his 39 international appearances. Strong and physical, he is a great passer of the ball and Leeds should consider making a move as he the qualities to establish a solid partnership with Pontus Jansson.