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Brendan Aaronson could be the missing piece that wins Leeds United the Championship

The news that Brendan Aaronson is set to return to Leeds United received a mixed response, but the American could prove a key player in the Championship

Brendan Aaronson could be the answer to Leeds United’s problems. No, this isn’t satire. You came here for a serious conversation but I’ve opened with ‘two men walk into a bar’, I know.

Mateusz Klich looked like a donkey in clogs playing on ice when he first featured in a white shirt. He was banished to the Netherlands, but fast forward seven years and he's a cult hero who starred during an unforgettable period in Leeds' history.

On a serious note, let’s take a step back. Forget what happened two years ago, forget relegation, forget that Jesse Marsch is a footballing terrorist and that Victor Orta didn't give anyone much chance of succeeding.

If we look at the numbers and assess his performance for Union Berlin in the Bundesliga, the raw data suggests that he could be an asset in the Championship.

Sorry for using the phrase ‘raw dat-a’. I’m not about to Marsch you by sh***ing in your hand while telling you it’s chocolate.

Before Brendan can become Leeds’ saviour, several things must happen. He’s made a positive start by showing the character to turn down other clubs and return to Yorkshire.

Next, he’ll need to give candid interviews where he accepts responsibility and apologises to the Leeds United supporters.

Football fans are fickle and Leeds fans are no different, and that can go both ways. They'll be firmly behind him if he turns in some good performances early in the season.

Those things feel like a guarantee, particularly Brendan resembling an excited puppy after a tennis ball when Daniel Farke’s side is out of possession.

The only thing left to do then, and of course, this is the important bit, is to produce enough quality on the ball to break down the stubborn, negative type (see Blackburn) that Leeds have struggled against.

Aaronson made 30 appearances in the Bundesliga but in terms of minutes played, he featured for 1,267, which equates to 14 matches.

This is where numbers can fit a hateful agenda because no one is jumping out of their seats at four goal involvements in 30 matches. But in reality, he produced a goal every 3.5 matches in a league much better than the English second tier.

Despite not starting back-to-back games until March, the attacking midfielder produced 1.6 key passes per 90 minutes of action.

By that... - what's another word for metric without sounding like that clueless vibes man? Measure? Let's say measure - he's in good company alongside Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies, Stuttgart’s Deniz Undav and Bayer Leverkusen’s Nathan Tella.

That’s not to suggest he’s in the same class, but when he finds time and space, he produces the quality of chance you’d expect a player at the top level to sniff out.

He did the same with Leeds in the Premier League, averaging 1.7 key passes per match, which equates to 46 key passes. In a terrible team, he produced 46 potential assists.

That’s a nice stat, but it’s just one among many. His style of play compared to someone like Georginio Rutter is also why he’ll help the Whites evolve.

Farke spent much of the season playing with two defensive-minded players as part of a midfield triangle. You can’t blame him when his midfield three often consisted of two midfielders and a square peg.

Not to say Rutter wasn’t dazzlingly brilliant, but he’s no midfielder and creates work off the ball. He belongs out wide where being dispossessed is typically less troublesome.

In Aaronson, Farke has a player who averaged more tackles, fouls, duels won and balls recovered than 80% of fellow attackers in Germany per 90 minutes.

There are other variables to consider. Teams would have been terrifyingly unbalanced if Crysencio Summerville and Rutter lurked in wide areas, leaving a capable CAM to patrol the edge of the box.

Above all, the team that walks the Championship regularly fails to get near 40 points in the Premier League, so the gulf in class of defenders will only exacerbate his numbers.

Plenty have written him off already, yet based on his days in the US and Austria, there’s no doubt he can unlock defences at this level.

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