There’s no denying that Leeds United have started the new year with a bang, romping to three successive 3-0 victories across the Championship and FA Cup, with even the returning Patrick Bamford now fit and firing again with a goal in each of those triumphs.
For all the positivity surrounding Elland Road at present, amid those statement showings, manager Daniel Farke is seemingly aware that there is still room for improvement with the club still seven points behind the automatic promotion places.
In order to bridge that gap over the coming months, the Whites must surely act decisively this month in order to strengthen their ranks, with recent reports indicating that the Yorkshire side do have their eyes set on one intriguing target, in particular.
Leeds eyeing Premier League talent
According to respected insider Phil Hay of The Athletic, Farke views the full-back positions as particular priorities this month, having only recently allowed the likes of Djed Spence and Luke Ayling to depart.
While that has heightened the need for reinforcement at right-back, it is on the opposite flank where the promotion hopefuls could also bolster their ranks, with Hay naming Luton Town’s Ryan Giles among those to have been linked with a move to Elland Road.
The 23-year-old only joined the Hatters from Wolverhampton Wanderers on a permanent deal over the summer, although having started just five Premier League games this season, the Englishman may potentially be on his way.
Having previously shone on the last of several loans away from Molineux at Middlesbrough last season, the Telford-born gem – who is valued at €5m (£4m) by CIES Football Observatory – could again wreak havoc in the Championship for Leeds over the coming months.
How Ryan Giles would fit in at Leeds
While the former England U20 international has typically operated as a wing-back in recent seasons with both Luton and Boro, he could well offer a real attack-minded presence at left-back for Farke’s side, as showcased by his stellar form last season at the Riverside.
That 2022/23 campaign saw Giles register a remarkable haul of 12 assists in all competitions – 11 of which came in 45 outings in the second tier – ensuring he could offer a real creative outlet for the likes of Bamford, Georginio Rutter and Joel Piroe to feed off.
As new Birmingham City boss Tony Mowbray previously stated, the 6 foot ace has “got fantastic talent, brilliant speed, amazing technique on his left foot”, ensuring he could also strike up a devastating partnership with Crysencio Summerville down the left flank.
Ryan Giles’ 2022/23 Championship stats
45 games (43 starts)
23 ‘big chances’ created
2 key passes per game
1.9 tackles & interceptions per game
52% total duels won
7.07 avg. match rating
Stats via Sofascore
The young Dutchman has emerged as a real talisman this season with 12 goals and seven assists in just 24 league outings while typically operating down the left, with overlapping runs from the forward-thinking Giles only set to allow him more space to thrive in.
The Luton man would also be able to provide quality service to Summerville down that side having created 23 ‘big chances’ last season while averaging an impressive two key passes per game – further evidence of just what an attacking weapon he is with his wand of a left foot.
Aside from being able to flourish alongside Leeds’ number ten, Giles also has the flexibility to be able to feature on the right-hand side if required, with Mowbray hailing his ability to “dance inside like Riyad Mahrez” when operating in that role.
As Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola stated back in 2021, Mahrez is a player of “special quality” who “dances on the pitch”, having contributed 82 goals and 61 assists in 284 Premier League games during his time at the Etihad and for Leicester City.
While Giles won’t be tasked with operating in quite such an advanced role as the Algerian winger, the fact he has been spoken of so highly should be music to the ears of those at Elland Road.