Leeds United are targeting yet another American player after a respected reporter revealed they have initiated contact for Juventus midfielder, Weston McKennie.
There is a growing American theme at Leeds. A 44% stake in the club is owned by 49ers Enterprises, in connection with San Francisco’s NFL team. Furthermore, the head coach role at Leeds is currently occupied by Jesse Marsch.
The American tactician has two compatriots at his disposal in his playing squad. Indeed, in the summer of 2022, Leeds signed Tyler Adams and Brenden Aaronson.
Now, Leeds are being linked with a move to further bolster their midfield with another American. According to Sky Sport Italia expert Gianluca Di Marzio, they have made the first contacts for McKennie.
The 24-year-old has become a bit unsettled at Juventus. Reports have suggested he is open to leaving them before the January transfer window closes.
McKennie has plenty of suitors in the Premier League. For example, he has already rejected Aston Villa. He is holding out for a bigger opportunity, which may come from Arsenal, Chelsea or Tottenham.
Arsenal have supposedly made enquiries with McKennie’s entourage. However, it appears that Leeds are now muscling their way into the battle for the former Schalke man.
According to Di Marzio, Leeds will continue their talks towards the transfer of McKennie. They are trying to find out from Juventus how doable a deal is.
The Turin-based side, who recently suffered a 15-point deduction in Serie A, have McKennie under contract until 2025.
He has made 96 appearances for them to date, scoring 13 goals in that time. This season, he has scored three times from 21 appearances, playing either as a central midfielder or wing-back.
Ready for a new challenge, McKennie could soon change scenery for Leeds. In theory, they could have an all-American midfield with Adams and McKennie in a double pivot and Aaronson in a number 10 role.
Leeds recently let one of their midfielders move to the USA, as Mateusz Klich signed for MLS side DC United. It would be beneficial to replenish their depth in the middle of the park.
Leeds will have to be convincing to McKennie
It remains to be seen how receptive McKennie will be to Leeds as a destination. They do not have European football on offer at present and are hovering above the Premier League relegation zone.
Indeed, Aston Villa are several places above Leeds in the table. If McKennie wasn’t attracted by them, then it might be difficult for Leeds to convince him too.
Perhaps the USA connection might give them something of an advantage. Villa also have an American co-owner, but there are more figures from McKennie’s country – for whom he has earned 41 caps – at Leeds.
The West Yorkshire side have been willing to back Marsch in the transfer market. For example, not only did they add his two compatriots in the summer, but they also reunited him with some players of other nationalities that he had worked with before.
For instance, Rasmus Kristensen came in from RB Salzburg in June and Maximilian Wober has followed from the same club this month.
That said, Marsch has been facing some pressure recently. Therefore, it is debatable if it would be wise to base their transfer decisions on him.
But McKennie is a player of Champions League pedigree, so could be useful under any regime. Being able to cover in the full-back positions – another area of scrutiny for Leeds – only adds to his appeal.
And with reports elsewhere suggesting he might cost no more than £22million, McKennie might be good value for money too.
Therefore, this could be an exciting link for Leeds to keep an eye on.