Tyler Adams has completed his move to Leeds United as a deal worth over $24 million has been agreed for the USMNT midfielder to arrive from RB Leipzig.
First question: is this a good move for Tyler Adams? Second question: is this a good move for Leeds United?
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Adams, 23, is touted as the replacement for Kalvin Phillips (the England international moved to Manchester City for $54.7 million), but anybody who has watched both Adams and Phillips play will know they are very different players. Leeds have basically replaced Phillips with Adams and Marc Roca.
“One thing for me is the passion, what it means for the city and to be a Leeds United player,” Adams said, via a video interview on Leeds’ official site. “So far what I’ve heard is that it’s electric. Talking to my friends who’ve played in the Premier League, they say it’s one of the best atmospheres they’ve ever played in. Now to have those fans supporting me, it’s special.”
From New York to Leipzig and the international game, Adams has always slotted in seamlessly whenever he’s moved up a level. Is this move a good one for him? And will it benefit both his own development and Leeds?
Adams can offer something Leeds need
Leeds were incredibly unbalanced and very susceptible on the counter under Marcelo Bielsa . That stemmed largely from not having enough legs and defensively stability in central midfield.
Adams will bring that stability. He has always been so smart in where to position himself to win the ball back or help his team recover. His reading of the game is exceptional and one of his main strengths. Leeds did become more balanced in the final months of the 2021-22 season after Jesse Marsch arrived and Adams’ arrival will further enhance their newfound defensively solidity.
Adams isn’t going to match Phillips’ supreme passing ability but as you can see from the graph below, he will attempt more dribbles and isn’t scared at making direct passes into the final third. The American also has less pressures and pressure regains than Phillips, which is very key to note. Adams will fit Marsch’s Leeds much better than he would have fit Bielsa’s Leeds.
The New Jersey native isn’t flashy on the ball but covers so much ground and does the dirty work well. This is what Leeds needed. He may struggle a little with the high-pressing aspects of their game as he prefers to sit in midfield, put out fires and read the game. When Adams is asked to step forward more and take risks with pressing, sometimes he can be sucked in and become easier to play around. Sidenote: his ability to play at full back and pretty much anywhere in midfield and defense is also a huge plus.
Kalvin Phillips-2021-2022 vs Tyler Adams-2021-2022, Midfield Template, Crab Cake pic.twitter.com/3aejgkmhZs
— Crab Stats Graphics (@CrabStats) July 4, 2022
Marsch factor key but Premier League adaptation will be tough
Making this move to play for a coach he knows so well will make slotting in at Leeds very easy for Tyler Adams.
Marsch nurtured him at the New York Red Bulls and then coached him at RB Leipzig and has now signed him for Leeds. Trust levels are high and that will be huge in helping Adams adapt to a new club, country and league.
Having spoken to Adams in the past, his dream has always been to play in the Premier League and he will now do it. It won’t be easy, he knows that, and there are a few concerns that he may not adapt that well to the pace and power of the PL. At first.
If he struggles early on, Adams is a very savvy operator and he will figure it out quickly. Leeds’ fans may have to be a little patient with him but there is nothing we’ve seen so far that suggests he won’t learn quickly and adapt his game. Even though the top-flight of English and German soccer are similar in many aspects, the pace and power of the Premier League is on a much higher level compared to the Bundesliga. We’ve seen Christian Pulisic, Kai Havertz, Roberto Firmino and many others initially struggle to adapt to the PL before the penny has dropped.
One thing Leeds fans can be sure of: Adams will always give 100 percent effort, is willing to learn and is one of the smartest players the USMNT has ever had when it comes to on-field tactical nous. He’s not Kalvin Phillips but Jesse Marsch knows that and he knows Adams will actually fill a slightly different role as he and Roca alongside him will almost replace Phillips as a duo.