Leeds United have started 2024 showing they mean business, picking up maximum points in the Championship with two wins from two – alongside clinching a routine FA Cup victory – without leaking a single goal.
This defensive solidity has been achieved despite full-back Djed Spence exiting the promotion-chasing Whites unexpectedly after a brief loan spell, on top of Leeds icon and dependable right-back Luke Ayling severing ties with the club to join Middlesbrough.
Even with Joe Rodon and Ethan Ampadu stepping up for Daniel Farke’s men with top-drawer displays at the heart of defence recently, the German boss will still be eager to bolster Leeds in the full-back areas and could even look to secure another Welshman in his back four with this signing.
Leeds continue to look for a left-back
The rumour mill in West Yorkshire keeps pointing in the direction of Leeds wanting to sign a new left-back, with numbers threadbare in that specific spot.
Phil Hay, whilst writing for the Athletic on Wednesday, confirmed a number of targets Farke and Co are going after to add depth to the left-back spot which included a potential loan move for Tottenham Hotspur defender Ben Davies.
Hay stated: “They also have a speculative eye on Ben Davies if changes to the squad at Tottenham Hotspur before deadline day make him a potential loan target.”
However, he then continued with a rather more damning line: “It feels incredibly unlikely that Spurs would sanction such a move.”
The 30-year-old represents an ideal transfer to go after with his connection to fellow countrymen Rodon and Ampadu making his transition to Championship football potentially seamless.
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Moreover, despite being 30 years of age now, the Spurs number 33 will have many pearls of wisdom to hand over to the Leeds squad in their pursuit of an immediate return to the Premier League.
How Ben Davies compares to Firpo and Spence
Davies’ telepathy with Rodon isn’t just down to a national team synergy, with Davies and the current Leeds star man both playing together on occasion with Spurs.
Knowing each other’s game well means Farke can rely on Davies to come in, with the 30-year-old also offering Leeds some needed experience and nous to aid teenage sensation Archie Gray on the opposing flank.
Davies hasn’t necessarily shown his age with Spurs this season either, making 16 appearances this season under Ange Postecoglou as a useful utility figure.
Although he might not be at his best anymore in the top-flight, which has led to pundits such as Gabby Agbonlahor calling for Davies to be sold on when speaking to Football Insider, the ex-Aston Villa striker did praise the longevity of which Davies has been around at Spurs for – “He’s been fantastic for them, but that doesn’t mean he can keep playing when his form isn’t good enough.”
Yet, relocating to Elland Road would see Davies become integral again as a short-term first-team option with his numbers over the last year for Spurs trumping a resurgent Junior Firpo who is Farke’s current choice at left-back and further a departing Spence.
Looking at FBRef, Davies betters Firpo in a number of the more offensive statistics despite the 27-year-old picking up three assists in his last three second-tier matches – Davies coming in at 4.02 progressive passes and 2.17 progressive passes received on average over the last year per 90 minutes, Firpo falling flat just with 3.67 progressive passes and 2.16 progressive passes received.
Moreover, despite Spence being seven years younger than the Spurs number 33, Davies betters the former Nottingham Forest man when it comes to basic defensive duties with the Welshman averaging 3.07 aerials won to Spence’s lacklustre 0.92.
This knack of rolling his sleeves up and delivering gritty displays at the back could also see Farke use Davies as a makeshift centre-back if needed, a loan signing that would improve Leeds significantly in defence not just down the channels.
Farke will be scrambling to get any left-back he can in through the door at Elland Road this January, with the Spurs full-back presumably high up on his Leeds shopping list.