Liam Bridcutt the man to power Leeds United up the table

Although the summer transfer window is widely acknowledged as the last chance for the top clubs to strengthen before the new year, a number of teams in the Football League have conducted some excellent loan business in recent weeks.

The emergency loan window this year closed last Thursday, with a host of Championship teams adding quality from the Premier League to aid their respective ambitions.

One of the more promising deals to take place saw Leeds United sign Liam Bridcutt on a temporary deal.

The gifted deep-lying playmaker joins the Elland Road club from Sunderland, where he has been frozen out this term.

The Black Cats have had plenty of issues this season, with one of the dilemmas at the Wearside club being the usage of Lee Cattermole.

The combative enforcer has let his team down in the past due to ill-discipline and moments of madness, with suggestions under Gus Poyet that Bridcutt could be an able alternative.

After four years on Brighton’s books, the Uruguayan brought the midfielder with him to the Stadium of Light back in 2014, with the early signs positive.

Bridcutt made his debut in a momentous 3-0 win over local rivals Newcastle, with the former Chelsea youth player looking immediately adept in the Premier League.

However, following Poyet leaving the North East club, the 26-year-old has struggled for regular playing time at Sunderland.

Following ten starts in the Premier League last season, the summer arrival of loan star Yann M’Vila has blocked Bridcutt’s path to the club’s first team, with not even a single minute on the pitch this season.

Liam BridcuttThe once-capped Scotland international obviously needed a move away from Sunderland and heading back to the Championship should not be viewed as a backward step.

There is a considerable gap in quality between the top and second tiers of English football, and although Bridcutt has shown sporadically that he can compete in the Premier League, a consistent run of regular football in the Championship is needed.

The former two-time Brighton Player of the Season has an excellent range of passing, the inclination to compete in the personal midfield battles and possesses a clever footballing brain.

All these qualities were on show as Bridcutt made his Leeds debut at the weekend in a 1-0 defeat to Queens Park Rangers, with the midfielder playing the full game despite his lack of regular action this season.

The Whites head coach Steve Evans was full of praise for Bridcutt in the aftermath of the game, claiming that he had the ability to be the best player in the division once he regained sharpness and familiarity in his new surroundings.

Leeds United’s demise since the days of becoming English champions in 1992 and participation in the Champions League under David O’Leary has been nothing short of astounding.

However, for a club with a sizeable fan base and proud history, playing in the English top tier is a pre-requisite but getting out of the ever-competitive Championship takes some doing.

Bridcutt’s addition to the Elland Road first team could well be the spark that the club require to move up the table, while offering the gifted midfielder the regular action he needs after falling out of favour at Sunderland.

By
I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo, goal.com, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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