Bielsa’s Premier League conundrums as Leeds face up to life without White
Ben White may have been one of Leeds' players of the season but he has cast doubt over his future at Elland Road as they prepare for the Premier League.
The dust is still settling in west Yorkshire as the celebrations continue following Leeds' promotion to the Premier League.
It ended a 16-year wait following their relegation to the second tier in 2004.
But, inspired by the enigma that is Marcelo Bielsa, Leeds are back and White was crucial to their success.
The young defender was a name few knew when he arrived on a season long loan from Brighton, but fast forward 12 months and he is on Liverpool's radar.
If Bielsa were to create his ideal centre-half it would look a lot like the 22-year-old. Strong, tall and immensely comfortable with the ball at his feet.
Leeds fans knew pretty quickly that keeping hold of the defender was going to be tough and it has been a fear few in the Elland Road stands wanted to discuss.
White played every single game for the Whites this season – the only player to do so.
He has enjoyed the celebrations that followed the season's finale having jetted off with his team-mates, but in an Instagram post he confessed that he doesn't know what his future holds.
"No matter what happens from here I will never forget the way you took me in and treated me as one of your own from day one," he said.
"These memories and experiences will be with me forever."
The question now for Leeds is where do they turn. Plenty had doubts when Pontus Jansson was sold last summer – although his relationship with Bielsa was thought to be deteriorating – yet a solution was found.
White was unearthed and the hope now is the they can perform a similar feat with it looking increasingly unlikely that he will sign permanently given the fee he is set to command.
But while it is a blow we have seen through Bielsa that the structure and the methods far supersede the individuals on the team sheet.
The Argentine has predominantly worked with what he inherited in Yorkshire, further underlining his managerial credentials, and will no doubt back himself to improve whoever may replace White.
He will also have issues to address at the opposite end of the pitch with Leeds' lack of cutting edge at times proving a problem.
That was during games where chances were freely created such was their flair and dominance, but in the top flight such chances may be at a premium.
Question marks continue to hang over Patrick Bamford who has been accused of lacking a cutting edge.
The striker has had spells in the Premier League with Crystal Palace and Norwich but, by his own admission, never had a fair crack at things.
Bielsa has regularly defended his striker who he claims is crucial to the overall ambitions of the team such is his willingness to press and perform other duties off the ball.
Whether Leeds can continue to play in such a manner is a question that will only be answered in time – Norwich came up 12 months ago and paid the price for not adapting.
The Elland Road faithful will insist its a different story with them and may use their performance at the Emirates back in January as a reference point.
Whatever their fortunes though, how good will it be to see Bielsa have a crack at the Premier League.
Pep Guardiola has recently waxed lyrical about the former Athletic Bilbao coach who doesn't have the words "compromise" or "pragmatist" in his dictionary.
Odds are he will do it his way – with or without White.
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