Hours after Leeds announced club-record signing Rodrigo Moreno from Valencia, the Whites have struck again in the transfer market, welcoming centre back Robin Koch from Freiburg for a £13 million fee.
24-year-old central defender Robin Koch has joined Leeds United on a four-year deal. He has been heavily linked with Leeds and was mentioned in The Dugout‘s article on Leeds’ centre back situation. This is a hugely important signing who, until his signing, only had one senior centre back fit to play: skipper Liam Cooper. Furthermore, Ben White was an extremely crucial player in Leeds’ Championship title last season and the Whites urgently needed an adequate replacement. And with this signing, I dare say they have even improved.
Earlier in the day, Koch issued a heart-felt thanks to Freiburg for helping him get to where he is today. He even took pleasure in teasing the Leeds fans a few moments before his official announcement. Although, it was all but confirmed at this point.
Koch is a capable ball-playing centre back and upon review, plays almost identically to previous incumbent Ben White. Koch wielded a pass accuracy of 84% in the Bundesliga last season and with Brighton refusing to sell to Leeds, Koch seems the natural replacement. Not only has he come at a smaller fee than Ben White, but Koch is a well-rated German international, who recently received another call up for Germany earlier this week.
Koch made 87 appearances for Freiburg after joining the club in 2017 and was handed his international debut in October 2019 by Joachim Low and debuted in a friendly against Argentina. He is equally comfortable playing at full back and centre back, making the German a useful option for Bielsa’s versatile side.
Last season in the Bundesliga, Koch racked up 2,708 minutes on the pitch and in this time managed to receive only 3 yellow cards. He also won an average of 6.73 aerial duels per game according to WhoScored.Embed from Getty Images
WhoScoredalso quote his threat at indirect set pieces, and his ability to play long balls as some of his key strengths. Set pieces were somewhere Leeds struggled last season, so fans and staff should be really pleased to see this.
At the age of 24, Koch has plenty of years in front of him. He is an experienced defender at the top level in one of Europe’s top five leagues. He ticks all of the demands Marcelo Bielsa wants from his defenders, and has been snapped up for a third of Ben White’s asking price. This is another absolute steal for Leeds United, and another statement to the Premier League: Leeds aren’t scrapping for relegation and finishing 17th, their aims are so much more than that.
Headline image credit: Twitter @RobinKoch25