Leeds United director of football Victor Orta is reported to be closing on the signing of Espanyol youngster Mateo Joseph Fernandez.
The Whites invested heavily in youth once again this summer. Having signed the likes of Sam Greenwood, Joe Gelhardt and Cody Drameh in 2020, they followed suited with five young signings in 2021. Indeed they landed five rising teenagers including Lewis Bate from Chelsea and current back-up goalkeeper Kristoffer Klaesson.
And according to recent reports, Orta is already closing on his next move, with a deal for Fernandez close. Indeed, the attacking sensation has reportedly signalled his intent to move to West Yorkshire, with Orta seemingly beating off Barcelona to his signature.
The likes of Manchester City and Liverpool have also been credited with an interest.
However, as per Radio Futbol journalist Diego Balbontin, Fernandez has now agreed personal terms with Leeds.
The two clubs now just need to settle on a transfer fee. Leeds are understood to have offered £450,000 for the 17-year-old, with the LaLiga side holding out for nearer £1m – the price of his release clause.
It seems as well that Espanyol are resigned to his departure with a key development emerging this week. That’s after Espanyol B decided not to select Fernandez for their clash against CD Ibiza.
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Indeed, Espanyol’s reserves slipped to a 2-1 defeat against their opponents, with Fernandez a notable absence from the squad. They failed to name him either in their line-up, or on their bench, suggesting a move was imminent.
The 17-year-old has also reportedly watching training from the sidelines, further pushing him towards the exit door.
Further observers suggest a deal is now close and that his signing will soon be formalised. An official announcement is likely to follow ahead of the January transfer window.
Leeds told they face Raphinha battle
Former Premier League striker Kevin Phillips, meanwhile, fears Leeds may struggle to keep hold of Raphinha after his stock continued to rise after a tremendous Brazil outing.
Despite the club beginning the season indifferently, Raphinha has starred throughout and is gaining stardom.
The Brazilian has scored three goals in seven games in the Premier League. That form earned him a call up to the Brazil squad.
The winger starred in his second Brazil appearance, making two assists in just 45 minutes against Venezuela. His stunning form has not gone unnoticed, with Brazil stalwart Thiago Silva heaping praise on the 24-year-old.
Additionally, Kevin Phillips feels that after Raphinha’s key performances for club and country, Leeds have themselves a gem.
“His stock is rising, big time. To perform like that for Brazil, it doesn’t really get any better,” he said.
“We know the impact he has had on the Premier League. He has been amazing. But, to do it for Brazil is just brilliant. It puts his stock even higher.”