Leeds United

Leeds United

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Leeds Utd express strong interest in impossible-to-criticise World Cup breakout star, putting past target on plate for other suitor

Azzedine Ounahi and Antoine Griezmann

Leeds United have been so impressed by one midfielder at the World Cup that they may have abandoned a longer-lasting transfer pursuit to rival other Premier League contenders for his signature, according to a report.

Midfield is an area Leeds will be taking a close look at in 2023. During the summer, they signed Tyler Adams and Marc Roca to become regular starters, accounting for the sale of Kalvin Phillips. But there could be further exits in the new year, and therefore the need for more arrivals.

Behind Adams and Roca in the pecking order at present are Mateusz Klich and Adam Forshaw. Both are facing uncertain futures; Klich is supposedly keen on a move to the MLS, where DC United want him. Forshaw, meanwhile, may not see his contract extended beyond the end of this season.

Therefore, Leeds may need to reinvest – perhaps as early as January – in order to ensure they have enough squad depth in their midfield.

An Italian report has reminded of their admiration of Torino midfielder Sasa Lukic, but has revealed who has overtaken him on their shortlist of potential targets.

Now, Leeds are said to be eager to sign rising Morocco star Azzedine Ounahi after his impressive displays at the World Cup.

Ounahi was a regular starter for Morocco in Qatar, helping his country to reach the semi-finals. After losing the third-place play-off, they ended up as the fourth best team at the tournament.

Several of their players have now put themselves on the radars of top clubs across Europe. Ounahi is one of them, having shown he can reach a higher level than he is currently at with Angers.

Part of a side that finished 14th in Ligue 1 last season, Ounahi has outgrown his current surroundings at club level. Indeed, Angers have already admitted they are hoping to cash in on him in January (although they would like whoever buys him to loan him back until the end of the season).

TEAMtalk understands that Leicester City are looking at Ounahi as a potential replacement for Arsenal target Youri Tielemans.

However, a report from AS Roma Live has revealed that Leeds are also keeping a close eye on developments with the Morocco man.

Leeds turn from Lukic to Ounahi

The source covers the story because of Roma’s interest in fellow Leeds target Lukic. There is a growing feeling that Jose Mourinho’s side might beat the Whites in that particular transfer battle.

Indeed, Leeds’ focus on Ounahi is giving the Giallorossi further encouragement that they can sign Lukic. They may do so via a part-exchange deal involving defender Marash Kumbulla.

Hence, with Lukic slipping away from Leeds’ grasp, Ounahi is very much on their radar. If his form from the World Cup is anything to go by, it might even be the better deal.

Leeds may have to be wary of how much Angers ask for to sell Ounahi. The 22-year-old is under contract until 2026 with the French club.

His potential has become obvious to the whole footballing world. Indeed, he was flooded with praise for his displays in Qatar. It has been hard to identify any flaws in his game from the most recent evidence.

With so much promise, Ounahi looks like he deserves a chance in the Premier League. Leeds may have to catch up with some other suitors if they are to get to him first. But their interest is only likely to grow after what he has produced at the World Cup.

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