Italian reports state Leeds deal for Nigeria midfielder is on – but source delivers bleak outlook

Date published: Monday 10th January 2022 1:31 - James Marshment

Ola Aina, in AFCON action for Nigeria against Egypt in 2019

Leeds United are reportedly in the clear to sign Ola Aina amid claims in the Italian media that Torino will not stand in their way if a suitable offer arrives.

Marcelo Bielsa’s troops have found the going that little bit harder during their second season in the Premier League. With the side riddled with injuries, the Whites have won just four of their 19 games played so far. Furthermore, they could be without as many as 11 first-team stars for next Sunday’s clash at West Ham.

For a squad that tends to rely on 20 players with support from the Under-23s, that clearly means more numbers are required.

With new recruits on the agenda, chief executive Angus Kinnear has given some indication over their plans for the upcoming window. And while he wants Leeds to strengthen, he knows their position at the wrong end of the table could be a cause for concern.

Nonetheless, Leeds are pressing ahead with plans to strengthen and their midfield is understood to be their No 1 priority.

To that end, they are reported to have drawn up a shortlist of transfer options.

Two men they can now seemingly cross off that list are Boubacar Kamara and Todd Cantwell. Marseille man Kamara’s wage demands are simply too high for Leeds, while the Whites are no longer understood to be tracking Norwich star Cantwell.

However, they could have more joy if they pursue a deal for Aina.

The Nigerian star emerged as a Leeds target last week, with multiple outlooks reporting their interest.

Now, according to Toro News, Leeds have been told a suitable offer can see a deal done. Aina is no longer considered indispensable by the Serie A side, having been limited to just 1200 minutes this season.

Ola Aina fancies Prem return

Furthermore, the player is understood to be ‘open to the idea’ of a return to English football. London-born Aina started his career with Chelsea and also counts Hull and Fulham among his former clubs.

He is comfortable playing on either flank, both as a wing-back or as a side-sided midfielder. To that end, his versatility will likely appeal to Marcelo Bielsa.

However, Leeds will have to wait until his interests at AFCON come to an end. He is currently in Cameroon with Nigeria for the tournament. Their campaign opens up with a high-profile clash against Egypt on Tuesday.

Phil Hay provides bleak transfer outlook for Leeds

The January window has not proved a successful one for Leeds over recent times. Indeed, a series of near misses (Dan James), injured stars (Jean-Kevin Augustin) and disappointing arrivals (Kiko Casilla) have not gone to plan in recent years.

Now, trusted Leeds United source Phil Hay reports the club are yet to make any headway in the current window.

Writing in a post-match Q&A on The Athletic, following Sunday’s FA Cup exit at West Ham, Hay painted a bleak outlook.

“Very quiet on that front,” he said, when asked about potential new recruits.

“Which isn’t to say they’re not working on anything but we’re yet to see a deal move to an advanced stage. Extra resources have felt necessary for a while. The squad has been too susceptible to injuries this season.”

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