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Opinion: Pierre-Michel Lasogga can fire Leeds United to glory
Monday, 4th Sep 2017 10:49 by @LucasMonk_

So long as he is kept far from the treatment table, the German could etch his name into Leeds United folklore as something of a cult hero this season.

Leeds United's capture of a rugged German centre-forward, Pierre-Michel Lasogga, evoked in some United supporters a feeling of trepidation. The protracted transfer was concluded following the departure of the talismanic striker Chris Wood (the scorer of no less than 30 goals for Leeds last season), who joined Burnley of the Premier League for a princely sum of £15,000,000.

The on-loan Hamburg forward arrived at Elland Road on deadline day, harbouring ambitions of reclaiming the imperious form that saw him earn a five-year contract at the Volksparkstadion in the summer of 2014. Lasogga had spearheaded the Red Shorts' attacking vanguard to potent effect in the 2013-14 season, scoring 13 goals in 20 Bundesliga appearances. In only his second outing for the club the Gladbeck-born striker put Nuremberg to the sword in Bavaria, scoring a splendid hat-trick.

His influence reached its zenith in the second leg of a critically important relegation play-off away to SpVgg Greuther Fürth. A thunderous header in the first-half on his part ensured that, despite Stephan Fürstner's equaliser in the 59th minute, Hamburg retained their Bundesliga status by the virtue of having scored an away goal, which Fürth had been unable to accomplish in the first leg.

The trinity of following seasons (2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17) saw Lasogga appear far less frequently than he had done in his inaugural campaign with Hamburg following his initial loan move from Hertha Berlin. In 76 appearances, Lasogga scored on a mere 13 occasions. A pernicious melange of injuries and errant form saw the player become widely reviled by his own supporters, who were not discontented to see him depart on loan last Thursday.

That vicious blend of volatile performances and painful injuries, coupled with Lasogga's inability to find the net with the same regularity as had been the case in the 2013-14 campaign, are the facts upon which the concerns of some Leeds fans are founded. Lasogga is, conspicuously, the player intended to fill the striking void created by the departure of Wood and when one considers the derisory number of goals scored by the German over the course of the last three seasons, it is no gargantuan surprise that there are fears that the 25-year-old will prove an inadequate replacement.

As supporters we must, before excoriating Lasogga and hurling all forms of ignoble invective in his direction, cast our minds back to the 2015-16 season. Chris Wood had been signed that very summer, from Leicester City, for a fee of approximately £3,000,000. In that particular campaign, Wood netted on 13 occasions. Throughout, he was often disparaged with many beholders citing his profligacy in front of goal as the principal reasoning behind their judgement. The villification of the New Zealand international continued into the early embers of the following season and following a last-gasp equaliser against Fulham, Wood cupped his ear in front of the Kop having been subjected to innumerable boos. He went on to score 30 goals in all competitions, and is now in the employ of a Premier League club. We can lament for all the world the way in which he facilitated the move, but it is in order to cogitate upon Wood's career before denouncing Lasogga as just another one of English football's ignominious, wretched 'flops'.

As Wood had done prior to his arrival at Elland Road, Lasogga has already confirmed the existence of his potential. It may be in a latent state at present, but it has not dissipated and can be reawakened and realised. He shares many similarities with Wood; both are target-men, both have already made clear their proficiency in the field of goal-getting and both are players who require the vociferous support of their own fans if they are to deliver for them.

If his fitness can be maintained and if Leeds United supporters lend him their support, Lasogga will doubtless prove an astute acquisition and shall make an impactful contribution to the United cause this season - by rediscovering the remarkable form that he displayed only three years ago.

Photo: Action Images

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