Why sending Laurens De Bock on loan is a good move for Leeds United
The Belgian was brought in only this January from Club Brugge, as the Whites looked to address their left-back issues that had prevailed since the departure of Charlie Taylor to Burnley last summer. And things were off to a bright start for the 25-year-old, following a decent display on his Championship debut against Millwall, despite Leeds losing 4-3.
Things looked promising for the Whites following a solid display by De Bock in his next game against Hull City, during which he cut a reliable figure at the back and also made marauding runs forward.
However, a disastrous display against Cardiff City in the next game, where he put on a highly undisciplined performance, proved to be De Bock’s undoing at Leeds. From there on, he struggled to live up to the promise he had shown in his first few matches.
And soon enough, the full-back lost his place in the starting XI to academy graduate Tom Pearce, who took his opportunity with both hands and made a strong impression towards the business end of the season. De Bock went on to make just a paltry 7 appearances for the Yorkshire-based outfit in his debut season, with no goals or assists.
Now, Leeds have handed Pearce a new contract this summer, indicating that the youngster will be more involved in the first-team. However, doing so raises several question marks over the future of De Bock. And the acquisition of Barry Douglas from Wolverhampton Wanderers seems to be the final nail in the coffin for the former Belgium youth international.
Douglas was a key part of the Wolves‘ setup that earned promotion to the Premier League in the 2017/18 term and is surely set to be the first-choice left-back for Leeds under Marcelo Bielsa in the upcoming season. And with Pearce most likely to act as his understudy, it only makes sense for the club to let go of De Bock.
From the player’s perspective as well, it makes a lot of sense to move on from what has been a forgettable period of six months with Leeds. A stint away from the club could help De Bock rediscover his form and confidence.
Should the Belgian be able to find his touch again during his loan at Fleetwood, he could come back and challenge for a first-team spot at Leeds. Hence, the deal seems like a win-win situation for all parties involved.