By 90Min
December 27, 2017

After 13 years out of top flight English football, is now the time for one of England's giants to return to the fray?

In 2001, Leeds United were in the semi finals of the Champions League. Yet just three years later, they were relegated into the Championship. Financial disarray created by Peter Ridsdale and consolidated by Ken Bates sent Leeds into spiral, tumbling into the third tier of English football for the first time in its history in 2007.

16 managers on from Leeds' relegation from the Premier League in 2004, Thomas Christiansen is now being tipped as the man to take Leeds back to the big time. In September, Leeds were top of the table and Christiansen was enjoying the best ever start any manager has had at Leeds, including the great Don Revie. 

Christiansen's side have clearly built on the work Garry Monk had done for the club, who lead the Whites to a 7th placed finish last season after spending the majority of the year in the play-off spots.

What may make this season different, however, is the change at the very top; with Italian tycoon Andrea Radrizzani completing his 100% buyout of the club this Summer. 'Radz' has bought back Elland Road and has already invested £70m into the club. Compared to the infamous reign of Massimo Cellino, the Leeds United of present really is something that fans can have faith in.

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With additions like Samu Saiz from SD Huesca and Ezgjan Alioski from Swiss outfit Lugano, United's attacking flair has certainly developed since the Monk era. With wins like the 5-0 drubbing of Burton Albion as well as comfortable 2-0 victories against Nottingham Forest and Sunderland, Christiansen's Leeds side looked like they may be the team to beat in the Championship.

After a poor streak where the Whites lost seven out of eight games, Leeds have now won five of their last six, with important wins coming against the likes of Barnsley and Norwich. Christiansen became only the third Leeds manager since 1989 to win away at Barnsley in the process.

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Despite Leeds' October slump, Radrizzani and Christiansen have shown that they may be capable of taking Leeds United back into the big time. With the highest average attendance in the Championship, Leeds fans have been yearning for the club's return to the top-flight ever since it left it in 2004.

The club is going in a positive direction, and even if Leeds United don't get promoted this year, it does seem like they will be back in the Premier League very soon. The foundations are there for Leeds' progression, and the famous Yorkshire club may again be battling against the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool in the not-too-distant future.

If Leeds can replicate their early-season prowess, they will be a very tough team to beat in the Championship. Seemingly, everything is now in place: a stable ownership, personified by Radrizzani's impressive PR skills; a great youth system that has recently churned out the likes of Ronaldo Vieira and Kalvin Phillips; and talented foreign imports like Saiz and Alioski. 

Is this year the sleeping giant awakens?

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