Leeds United are reportedly monitoring the progress of Spain U21 striker Ivan Azon, who has been shining at Real Zaragoza in recent months.
Both Marcelo Bielsa and Jesse Marsch have had trouble in attacking areas this season, mainly due to the fitness issues affecting key striker Patrick Bamford. The Englishman has been limited to 11 appearances in all competitions, and two goals, due to three separate injuries.
Dan James, Rodrigo and Joe Gelhardt have all been selected up top this season. While they all have talent, they don’t have the same impact as Bamford up front.
It’s no surprise Leeds are being linked with centre-forwards ahead of the summer, given their reliance on 28-year-old Bamford.
But the calibre of the potential signing who will provide back up for Bamford is up for debate.
That’s because Leeds are in the midst of a relegation battle which also involves Burnley and Everton.
The Whites will be able to spend more on a new attacker if they remain in the top flight. But should relegation become a reality, then they will have to search for cheaper alternatives.
One shrewd solution could be Zaragoza star Azon. The 19-year-old has made 34 appearances for Zaragoza this season, with 32 of those coming in the Spanish second division.
Ivan Azon bursts into form
It took him 23 league matches to get his first goal of the campaign. Since then, the Spain U21 international has been bang in form.
Six goals have come his way in 10 matches. Zaragoza have benefitted hugely from this run, picking up five wins in 13 outings. Before Azon began striking, the La Liga 2 side had only won five league matches all season.
According to Sport Witness, who cite Spanish outlet Heraldo, Leeds are keeping tabs on Azon’s development and could end up moving for him this summer.
The interest mainly stems from Victor Orta – Leeds’ director of football – who has put several scouts in Spain.
‘Special emphasis’ has been put on players starring in La Liga and La Liga 2.
Azon is one of the players who could end up at Elland Road as a result.
The report doesn’t mention how much the impressive teenager will cost. His contract runs until June 2024, meaning Zaragoza have a decent amount of bargaining power.
transfermarkt put Azon’s transfer value at £2.25million. But he will likely cost more than this due to his recent scoring run.
Capturing Azon would be a good move for Leeds if they do end up in the second tier. His transfer fee wouldn’t break the bank and he may be a good striker for the future.
However, if Marsch’s men remain in the Prem, then they could probably bring in someone with more experience.
Meanwhile, integral Leeds star Kalvin Phillips is on a two-man shortlist to partner Declan Rice in West Ham’s midfield.