Leeds United in 5 years' time: Champions League? A Norwegian target man?
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With a successful return to the Premier League after a 16-year absence, Leeds United will be excited with what's to come.

Second season syndrome isn't something on the mind of the Leeds United board with them getting strong links with some of Europe's top names.

This season hasn't just been a success for the first team, with the U23s led by Mark Jackson winning their league title and earning a promotion to Division One of Premier League 2.

Marcelo Bielsa has been singing the praises of the youngsters this season and bringing in many new faces into the first-team squad. Earlier in the season, he gave a debut to Niall Huggins away at Arsenal back in February.

The big question that would be asked is if Marcelo Bielsa will be the manager of Leeds in 5 years time, but if he is how can we see Leeds United line up? 

GK - Illan Meslier 

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Illan Meslier, a record-breaker already at the age of 21 and a contract that runs into 2023, many will say it's a race against time for Leeds to get back into Europe in order to keep a hold of the Frenchman who has kept nine clean sheets this season.

However, if Leeds are able to get back into Europe it has to be said that they are in safe hands for many years to come after the French stopper has made the second-most saves in the division this season to date.  

RB - Cody Drameh 

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Cody Drameh, a man who has been lighting it up in the u23s this season will have a really strong case of being a regular starting right-back for Leeds after the absence of Luke Ayling.

Drameh is a fast, attacking right-back who brings the qualities that right-backs need in the modern game. The 19-year-old has chipped in with two assists this season. It's not as many as some may like, but his attacking influence is bare for all to see. 

He isn't just good at going forward but at defending he has been very good with his one on one battles, something that Bielsa is very keen on in his tactical setup. 

Drameh has come on leaps and bounds since he joined the club in the summer of this season, so it is to question with another season of u23s football or a loan away from Elland Road to get first-team football he may be ready for the Premier League

CB - Charlie Cresswell 

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At only 18, Charlie Cresswell, a young man who is highly thought of at Elland Road. It is sure that he has a big future in front of him if Leeds are able to keep hold of the centre-half. 

A ball-playing defender who is compared and named to be 'the next Ben White' by many Leeds fans, he will have a vital role to play in the coming years in getting Leeds back into Europe. 

Not only could he be a good fit for the club but he could play a big part on the international stage, with the position being starved of real quality. 

A strong, quick, aerially positive centre back will be a dream for any team, especially with set pieces being Leeds' Achilles heel this season. 

Cresswell has already made his first-team debut starting in the penalty shootout defeat to Hull City back in September but showed his quality throughout the game.

It will only be a matter of time before Cresswell gets his Premier League debut, something his father, Richard Cresswell, wasn't able to do for Leeds. 

After being the most consistent player in the u23s this season, he will be sure to give Marcelo Bielsa a headache in the coming months of when to pull the trigger on the 18-year-old.

CB - Pascal Struijk 

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Pascal Struijk, another young man who plays with real maturity, a calm on the ball centre back who can also play in midfield. The Dutchman could have a real role in the years to come to get Leeds back into the threshold of the 'big six.'

It has been a season to remember for the 21-year-old as he has cemented himself in the minds of Leeds' ever faithful as respectable first team choice.  

He only ever really got his chance due to injuries of others around him, but when called upon has done a fantastic job. However, first-class performances in the Premier League have lead him to being another player on the radar of some of Europe's elites.

His former side Ajax are one who are looking to lure him back after leaving the club to join Leeds back in 2018.

Pascal has been anchored down by a new 4-year deal at the club, so it is unlikely that Leeds will be likely to let the Dutchman go in the short term.

Struijk who is yet to be called to the Oranje Dutch national team shall be on the fringes for the Euros if given the playing time. For now though, he is caught in the middle of a tug-of-war between the Netherlands, Belgium, and even Indonesia.

With all first-team centre backs being back fit for The Whites Pascal has had to live with the role of being on the bench - despite putting in terrific performances in the absence of star signings, Robin Koch and Diego Llorente.

LB - Romain Perraud

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Romain Perraud, at the age of 23 is shining to be a real prospect after having a real breakthrough at Stade Brest this season getting 3 goals and 5 assists in 29 Ligue 1 appearances this season. 

A player that Leeds was after since the start of January could be one of the first faces we see ahead of next season if Leeds are able to strike a deal with the French outfit.

Romain will be a perfect fit for Leeds with Brest playing a similar high tempo brand of football and being a natural left-back will boad well with Leeds who have been crying out for a left-footed left-back all season.

A quick, attacking like any modern full-back he has the ability to be able to go forward but with very like Drameh his one on one battles is what is key, with one on one defending being very key, and this will make him a useful asset if Leeds are able to lure him over to West Yorkshire

CDM - Kalvin Phillips 

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Mr Leeds United, The Yorkshire Pirlo, Kalvin Phillips, a man that doesn't need an intro, the real heartbeat of Leeds in recent times. There is no doubt that the possible future captain has to be in the team. 

The forever improving Yorkshire born holding midfielder, who is an England regular as of late, making seven appearances for the Three Lions still has a big future in front of him. 

Only being 25 and still learning his trade on both club and international level, he has been improving in every game. 

Since making his debut under Neil Redfearn back in April 2015, Phillips has made a total of 204 appearances for The Whites and since Marcelo Bielsa came into the Leeds frame, he dropped into a deeper role in midfield and turned to be one of the best players in the EFL Championship last season.

Deservedly, his performances earned him a spot in the national side before taking his boyhood club back to the Premier League this season.

The now mature 25-year-old has taken a rash side out of his game and playing for his boyhood club he leaves the emotion on the pitch and with every tackle, pass, goal conceded or goal scored you can feel that passion coming from him - a unique feature in today's game.

The number 23 is a firm fan favourite at Elland Road and if he takes Leeds back into Europe he will really place himself into the history books.

RM - Raphinha  

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Raphinha, a man who has lit up the Premier League this season with his quick feet, his ability to take on a man and his goals to add to that makes him a joy to watch. 

With six goals and six assists in 25 Premier League appearances, Raphinha has been one of the signings of the season only costing the Whites 17 million pounds from French outfit Stade Rennes.

On a four-year contract and happy with the club thus far, the only question will be is if he continues the form he is in, Europes biggest may come knocking - already Liverpool and Manchester United are monitoring the Brazilian winger.

However, if Leeds are able to keep ahold of the trickster it could be another mould of a new Leeds United legend in the frame with him already being one of the fan favourites at Elland Road.

CM - Charlie Allen

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Charlie Allen, at the age of 17 is currently playing for Leeds United's U18s and plying his trade for Northern Ireland at youth level.

Allen is a player that can really make a breakthrough into the first team in the next five years. 

For such a young talent, he is calm on the ball, has good fitness, quick feet, an extravagant passing range while using both feet. Who knows, he could be a real world-beater if Bielsa can unlock the potential of the ex-Linfield midfielder.  

If he was to make a breakthrough, Allen would play in the box to box role in midfield which Mateusz Klich has done for the last few seasons under Bielsa. Roaming in midfield as he has done with real consistency in midfield for the U18s this season and if it wasn't for the work of Jack Jenkins in the U23s he would probably already be at that level.

It won't be long until he makes his breakthrough after putting in some stunning performances for the U18s in the FA Youth Cup game against Newcastle United U18s. He was a clear standout, and with this shows his quality which no doubt we will see in the Premier League in years to come.  

CM - Tyler Roberts 

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Tyler Roberts with time still on his side being only 22 has seemed to get better as each game has come along this season after an injury to  Rodrigo Moreno gave the Welshman the breakthrough he needed and since then has started all of the last 6 Premier League games. 

Roberts who signed from West Brom back in 2018 has been another one of the players who has come on leaps and bounds under the management of Bielsa and is seeming to get better the more experience he is gaining through playing in the top flight. 

Roberts who formerly played at striker before the arrival of Bielsa, just like the Spanish international Rodrigo, due to the hot form of Patrick Bamford has had to drop down into a deeper role in advanced midfield in order to get minutes, but with hard work paying off for Roberts, he has seemed to be a regular as of late. 

With Bielsa at the helm, it will only be a question of how far can Roberts can go, with the progress he has made already this season, in 5 years time, Roberts could really be a Premier League powerhouse. 

LM - Ousmane Dembele 

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A long shot, but after finding out on the 'Official Leeds United Podcast a new recent Leeds fan in Ousmane Dembele, it would be harsh not to include the 24-year-old Frenchman, who has also been linked with The Whites since early January like Romain Perraud, which we could see be the new Leeds United left-hand side as early as next season.

Dembele rose to be one of Europes hottest prospects after his breakout season in the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund after getting 6 goals and 12 assists in 32 league games for the German giants and at only 20 it was clear to see why FC Barcelona paid €135 million to lure the Frenchman to Spain.

A winger just like Raphinha could be deadly especially if we could have them on both flanks, Dembele could provide to be a bargain buy for Leeds United after he hasn't seemed to live up to his potential that Barcelona was expecting him to after only getting 5 goals and 2 assists this campaign, so a fresh start might be what the Veron born winger needs to kickstart his career again and West Yorkshire may be the best fit.

If Leeds are to be able to land one of the biggest signings of their history they will have one of Europes best wingers on either flank with Raphinha on the right and Dembele on the left and with this could make a real charge for Europe next season if they are able to get a deal over the line with the Spanish outfit.

ST - Joe Geldhart 

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A man pipped to be the new 'Wayne Rooney' Joe Geldhart a lot like Greenwood has had a terrific season with the U23s this season and is a man that will feature for Leeds and if Bielsa isn't around we may see the new Leeds frontline of Geldhart and Greenwood up there together. 

With him scoring 11 goals in 15 U23 appearances it is clear to see the hype with Geldhart and with him having more first-team experience after playing for Wigan Athletic last season in the Championship and only costing Leeds £1 million it could turn out to be one of the signings of this century if he is to unlock his full potential in his time at West Yorkshire.

Playing for England at youth level has caught the eye like many Leeds players this season with some of Europes biggest names with Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund aiming to sign the Leeds man this summer.

If he was to stay at Leeds we may see Geldhart break into the first team next season due to injuries and really make his mark in the Premier League and if he is to make his mark the question will be if he can stay there, and if so could he be the man to take Leeds United back into Europe?

Honourable mentions - 

Sam Greenwood -

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Sam Greenwood, a man at only 19 years of age has a great career ahead of him, with an ageing Patrick Bamford at 28 in 5 years we could see a new Leeds number 9 and a man who can fit the bill is Sam Greenwood.

The Sunderland born striker came through the ranks at Arsenal before Leeds paid The Gunners £1.5 million this summer as a project to build Leeds for the future, and if he continues the way he is going he might not just be Leeds' number 9 in five years time, he might be giving Gareth Southgate a headache on who to play up front for England.

Greenwood is a striker that loves to peel off the last defender and press from the front just like Bamford does for Leeds so well now, which is why it will be a no brainer for Bielsa if there was to be a hunt for a new striker. 

Greenwood has scored 8 goals in 15 appearances for the U23s this season, a call up to the first team is surely not that far away, he has made one appearance for The Whites off the bench in their worst performance of the season away at Crawley, but it won't be long until we see him make his Premier League debut after a terrific season with the U23s this season 

Erling Braut Haaland - 

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It wouldn't be a Leeds United in the future article if it didn't include the Leeds born, Norwegian international, Erling Braut Haaland. Son of Alf-Inge Haaland who used to play for Leeds United in 1997-2000. 

Erling Haaland has lit up Europe and arguably the hottest prospect in the world right now. The strong, quick, powerful striker is breaking record after record at the age of 20 and hasn't even reached his peak yet.

The Norwegian has scored 31 goals in 29 appearances this season. This form has got Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester City all chasing the signature of the Norwegian who has a €75 million release clause in his contract as of June 2022.

For Leeds United, even if it is a dream of Haalands to: "Win the Premier League with Leeds United." It will be a tough order in five years time for Leeds to have the finances together to pull such a deal off but never say never, we may see a new Norwegian at target man at Elland Road in five years time.