Leeds United sign highly rated German center-back as Bielsa revolution continues
It seems Marcelo Bielsa is preparing his newly promoted Leeds United side for the upcoming premier league season in a big way. The Argentine coach signed two important players on Saturday who are set to play important roles for the West Yorkshire club in the coming season.
The Peacocks signed their eighth new player in the current transfer window in the form of Germany international center-back Robin Koch on the same day the club announced the signing of Spain forward Rodrigo from Valencia in a club record deal.
Koch was signed from Bundesliga club SC Freiburg in a deal estimated to be around £17 million as Bielsa looks to strengthen Leeds's defense. The highly rated 24 year old defender has been signed on the back of a very successful season with SC Freiburg in the German Bundesliga.
Robin Koch spent three seasons with the Breisgau Brazilians having moved there from his hometown club of Kaiserslautern in 2017. The last season was particularly impressive for the 6 ft 4 inch defender as he helped the German club to a spirited eighth place finish in the league. In 2019 Koch was called up to the Die Mannschaft squad and impressed in his debut match in a 2-2 friendly draw against Argentina. The defender played his first competitive game in 4-0 victory over Belarus in a UEFA qualifying match on November 2019.
Good in the air with a physical presence, Koch is a traditional German defender who is useful in set pieces. Leeds have acquired an upcoming international player who is just settling down in the competitive German national side.
Capped two times by Joachim Low, the former Germany U-21 international has been added in the latest national team squad and is tipped to make further appearances against Spain and the Ukraine in the upcoming Nations League double header.
The charismatic Bielsa hopes to make Koch his defensive mainstay as hi top flight Bundesliga experience would come in handy in the robust environment of the Premier League. The former Marseille and Athletic Bilbao manager's primary target was Brighton's Ben White but having been priced out of that particular business, Koch has been roped in.
In a statement on their official website, Leeds United announced the signing on Saturday;
"Leeds United are pleased to announce the signing of Robin Koch from Bundesliga side SC Freiburg for an undisclosed fee,"
"The 24-year-old has signed a four-year deal at Elland Road, running until the summer of 2024."
El Loco, as Bielsa is nicknamed, did not waste time in getting his central defender from Germany as Tottenham was also in the race to sign the impressive ball playing defender. The Argentine is also rumored to be on the pursuit of Lazio centre back Luiz Felipe as he sets his eyes on an internationally experienced central defensive pairing to take Leeds to the next level after 16 years away from England's most lucrative division.
The big German defender will adapt well to Bielsa's pressing tactics. Leeds have good pace in their team and with Koch being a ball playing defender, the team from Yorkshire could hurt a lot of sides by playing from the back aided by incisive counter attacking football. The 4-3-3 approach of the Argentine with record signing Rodrigo upfront could make United an exciting team to watch this season.
Certainly the pedigree of Bielsa has attracted talents like Robin Koch and Rodrigo to West Yorkshire and with the central defender being the eighth new face in the Leeds side, a revolution is well and truly underway at the famed Elland Road which once hosted Champions League heavyweights and desperately thriving to get their good old days back once again.
As far as Robin Koch is concerned the Leeds United head coach was the main reason that he chose the Whites over a lot of other big teams. The tough tackling no nonsense defender, who scored five goals in 87 appearances for Freiburg, was delighted to have been given the opportunity to train under Bielsa.
"It was one of the points for me to come here to Leeds," said Koch, who missed only two Bundesliga games last season further pointing to his stamina and strength.
The Germany international further said; "I talked to the players and Klich(Leeds midfielder Mateusz Klich) said 'yeah, the coach really makes us better'. I heard that from a lot of people, but to hear it directly from a player under him, it was good for me.
"So I'm ready for my next step, in a new league and also to get to the next level of personality in my game and this is the best step for me - under Bielsa at Leeds."
Featured image credits: Leeds Live