This summer has seen Leeds United linked with a flotilla of players, from across Europe and further afield.
Marcelo Bielsa’s lure, Victor Orta’s powers of persuasion and the opportunity to play for a top-half Premier League club helped Leeds United seal the permanent transfers of Jack Harrison and Junior Firpo earlier this month.
With only three weeks or so until the Premier League kicks off for yet another season, the bulk of Leeds’ squad has already been assembled.
This means supporting cast members such as back-up central midfielders and second-choice goalkeepers are likely to be the only remaining additions.
While Leeds have been named to be ‘in for’ wingers, strikers, midfielders, left-backs, centre-backs and goalkeepers, there remains one position in which there have been few – if any – links.
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Luke Ayling’s debut Premier League campaign was an impressive one, but it is not just his form which means the right-back slot at Elland Road is something of a safe-seat.
That said, even transfer links abide by the mantra that absence of evidence does not necessarily mean evidence of absence.
Nevertheless, Leeds remain one club not yet linked with another right-back, not even a young player earmarked as a development project.
The likely reasoning for this is that Leeds already have their project in that position – and he enjoyed a very promising first campaign in Whites colours.
Cody Drameh featured regularly at right-back for Mark Jackson’s U23s en route to a Premier League 2 Division 2 title triumph.
The ex-Fulham man was a pioneer in many ways, switching the country’s capital for Thorp Arch to further his professional career.
Since the beginning of last summer when Drameh was signed, Sam Greenwood, Amari Miller, Sean McGurk, Crysencio Summerville have joined the ranks at Leeds’ training base.
Only three days separated his and Joe Gelhardt’s summer 2020 arrivals.
With Lewis Bate expected to be the next teenager arriving at Thorp Arch from an elite academy elsewhere, this is a clear directive, that Leeds United can become the finishing school and pathway to regular Premier League football that so many burgeoning youngsters cannot access.
Cody Drameh featured in 21 of Leeds United U23s’ league games this season
(Image: Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)
Luke Ayling has a contract until June 2023, meanwhile Drameh is signed on until 2024.
Provided the latter continues to kick on as he did throughout 2020/21, he will continue to be groomed as Ayling’s eventual replacement in the Leeds United first-team.
Their styles are similar, as are their strengths, even down to the ability to play as a central defender if necessary.
There has been a lot to like about Leeds United’s recent transfer business, largely because much of it has been focused and deliberate, aimed at securing the long-term future of the club.
A Luke Ayling succession plan in the shape of Cody Drameh would be evidence that it’s a tactic worth employing in other areas – and one for other clubs to follow.
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