Paul Merson predicts where Leeds United will finish next season
Paul Merson is predicting that Leeds United will struggle to remain in the Premier League
Leeds United will be relegated from the Premier League this season unless Marcelo Bielsa signs a new striker this summer, according to Paul Merson.
Leeds secured their return to the English top flight following a 16-year absence after Bielsa led the Elland Road outfit to the Championship title in the 2019-20 campaign.
The Whites finished 10 points ahead of second-placed West Brom to secure their place in the 2020-21 Premier League season following a long wait to return to the top division.
Bielsa managed to mastermind Leeds United’s return to the Premier League by the end of his second full season in charge of the decorated Yorkshire team.
Leeds have been heavily linked with a swoop to sign Brighton centre-half Ben White this summer after the 22-year-old spent the 2019-20 season on loan at the Yorkshire club.
Recent reports have suggested that Leeds are interested in a swoop to sign former Bolton Wanderers striker Rodrigo in a big-money deal from La Liga side Valencia.
Former Arsenal midfielder Merson reckons Leeds United need to sign a proven goal-scorer in the summer transfer window to give the Whites a chance of retaining their Premier League status.
“Fulham have a chance of staying up next season because of Aleksandar Mitrovic,” Merson told Daily Star.
“They will need a couple of signings and they will need to learn from their mistakes last time around when they bought badly.
“But Mitrovic gives them a chance. He will score you goals and he knows the league. He’s done it in the Premier League before.
“It’s Leeds I worry about if they don’t sign a striker. I don’t see how they survive. I don’t see Patrick Bamford scoring the goals Mitrovic will.
“I hope Leeds fans don’t think they will do a Sheffield United because I don’t see it. When you try to press like they do, top players will pop the ball around you.
“But Fulham won’t try to overplay. They know their strengths and they have players who have been up there before. They should be able to grind out results.
“If Leeds can get a top quality forward, they might be OK. But that’s where Fulham have such an advantage. They don’t need another striker because they already have an absolute gem in Mitrovic.”
Third-placed Brentford scored three goals more than Leeds in the Championship last season after the Elland Road side netted 80 times in 42 outings.
Leeds United haven’t made any new signings in the summer transfer window despite being linked with Rangers winger Ryan Kent, Brighton defender White and Valencia striker Rodrigo.
Bielsa’s side will start the Premier League campaign with a trip to defending champions Liverpool FC at Anfield on Saturday 12 September.
Leeds will host Fulham in their first Premier League game at Elland Road since 2004.
The Whites will finish their Premier League schedule in September with a trip to Sheffield United.