One of the real unsung heroes of Leeds’ Championship-winning season, Stuart Dallas proved why he must surely be one of Marcelo Bielsa’s personal favourites at Elland Road.
The versatile 29-year-old featured in four different positions, but saw most of his game-time come at left-back. And whilst he performed well enough, it’s no surprise to really see the Whites reportedly target a new man for the role.
According to reports in recent days, Victor Orta and co are targeting a summer move for Rangers defender Borna Barisic, with it being claimed that the Scottish side are set to demand upwards of £8m to let him go.
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The Croatian enjoyed an outstanding campaign for Steven Gerrard’s side last season, really taking his game up a few levels and becoming one of the Gers’ most important players both going forward and back.
In 40 games across all competitions, he racked up a remarkable 14 assists from left-back, including setting up both of Rangers’ goals in a famous 2-1 win away from home against arch-rivals Celtic.
And after seeing that performance, even former Hoops man paid tribute to Barisic. He said: “In Barisic, Rangers have got the best left-back in the league. It was no surprise for me to see him getting down that left-hand side and setting Kent up for the chance.
“He has really become an important player for Rangers. The quality of his deliveries into the box is absolutely magnificent. And you saw Katic also getting the benefit.”
Barisic could have a huge impact on transforming Leeds and seems far better suited to the idea of Bielsa-ball. When you look at his stats from the Europa League last season, he averaged an impressive 1.9 key passes, 1.1 dribbles and 34.6 passes per game from full-back.
To put that into context, Dallas managed just one key pass per match in the Championship, whilst only little magician Pablo Hernandez registered more in the entire Leeds squad (2.3).
If the Whites can secure Barisic this summer, then they would be getting the kind of modern-day attacking full-back that Bielsa will surely love, and give them the perfect upgrade on Dallas.