Arsenal are reportedly engineering themselves right to the front of the queue to sign a striker, whom Victor Orta dreams of bringing to Leeds to ease their goalscoring issues.
The Whites are currently on a massive high, having recorded a memorable 2-1 win at Liverpool that made a mockery of their recent struggles. Indeed, they went to Anfield having not won in nine games and playing against a side that had not lost a home Premier League game in front of a crowd since the 2016/17 season. It really was an incredible win.
The success lifts Leeds up to 15th in the Premier League; they can climb up towards mid-table if they can overcome Bournemouth on Saturday.
However, their plight would surely be so much better if they had a striker capable of putting away the numerous chances they create. Once-capped England man Patrick Bamford is struggling in front of goal, having scored just once in an injury-hit calendar year.
As such, it’s little surprise to see Leeds looking to address that situation in January. And director of football Orta is reportedly turning his attention towards RB Salzburg once again to add more goals.
Indeed, the Whites are strongly being linked with a January move for Switzerland striker Noah Okafor. The 22-year-old is rated as one of the hottest commodities in the European game, having scored three goals in five Champions League games this season. Overall, Okafor has seven in 12 appearances in all competitions so far this season.
As such, he is likely to be the next big-money departure from Salzburg.
Leeds already raided the Austrian champions twice this summer with Brenden Aaronson and Rasmus Kristensen moving to Elland Road. Now it seems that Orta is setting his sights on Okafor.
Arsenal reportedly lead Noah Okafor chase
However, as per Calciomercato, it is Arsenal who currently lead the chase for the striker.
The Gunners have Gabriel Jesus leading their attack, while Eddie Nketiah is an able understudy. But the Italian outlet claims the performances of Okafor are attracting attention at Emirates Stadium with technical director Edu reportedly a huge admirer.
Indeed, with Jesus reportedly being lined up for a move for Real Madrid, the Gunners are looking at Okafor as a potential successor. Per reports over the weekend, Los Blancos president Florentino Perez is dreaming of signing the Brazilian as the heir to Karim Benzema.
And if that happens, Arsenal would need a quality replacement, which is where Okafor comes in.
The striker is also reportedly on AC Milan‘s radar and he’s already responded to talk on his future.
Indeed, ahead of Salzburg’s Champions League clash at the San Siro on Wednesday, the former Basel frontman admits the Italian side boast plenty of history.
“Milan are a strong team, a club with a legendary history. It’s always nice to face the Champions of Italy,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I am looking forward to the game, there is a lot to play for. But we’ll get to Milan without pressure. We are not obliged to win.
“Our target was to compete with strong sides, we are happy to continue our path in Europe although the Champions League would be better.”
Okafor has the quality to play in the Premier League
Discussing his future, he added: “Whether it’s England, Spain, Italy or Germany, every league has a special charm. When there will be something concrete, we’ll assess it.”
Wherever he ends up, it is quite evident that Okafor has the quality to succeed at a higher level. Salzburg has proven an absolute hotbed of striking talent over recent years. Indeed, Sadio Mane, Erling Haaland, Karim Adeyemi and Benjamin Sesko have all made their name there.
And there is absolutely every reason to think that Okafor looks to be the next huge talent to emerge there.
Certainly from a Leeds point of view, it is easy to see why the club are ready to look there again. Aaronson has been a big success since moving to Leeds, offering plenty of incisive runs from midfield.
Kristensen has taken longer to settle but has shown signs in recent weeks that he too is coming good.
No wonder then that they are looking towards Salzburg again. However, they could see efforts to land Okafor ruined by Arsenal if they don’t act fast.