Leeds United are firm admirers of Borussia Dortmund full-back Raphael Guerreiro and are preparing a contract offer to lure the star to Elland Road in the new year, TEAMtalk understands.
The Whites brought in Junior Firpo for £12.9m in summer 2021 in what they hoped would fix their long-term issues there. However, the signing from Barcelona has struggled to adapt to the rigours of Premier League football since the move.
Indeed, Firpo was booked 11 times for Leeds during his 27 appearances for the Whites during his debut season. And having picked up an injury during the pre-season win over Blackpool, Firpo was forced to undergo a period on the sidelines.
And with the versatile Stuart Dallas recovering from a long-term injury, the Whites, perhaps surprisingly, allowed Leif Davis to depart for Ipswich over the summer.
That has left Jesse Marsch using Pascal Struijk as emergency cover. And while Struijk has performed exceptionally well in an unfamiliar role, Leeds see him as a centre-half in the long term. As such, TEAMtalk understands the Whites are now planning to sign a specialist left-back in the new year.
As a result, sources have told us that Whites director of football Victor Orta has his gaze firmly fixed on Guerreiro.
The Portuguese star is out of contract in 2023, and talks over a new deal have not progressed. A regular in the Dortmund side, he has made over 200 appearances since arriving from Lorient in summer 2016.
Leeds not the only side keen on Raphael Guerreiro
But with his deal due to expire, Guerreiro is eligible to talk to overseas suitors from January 1. Indeed, he can sign a pre-contract agreement when the winter window opens in just 56 days time.
However, we also understand that Leeds are not the only club keen on Guerreiro.
Juventus are also on his trail, though they Serie A giants have other options under consideration including Alex Grimaldo. Indeed, the Spaniard is another star out of contract in the summer and also available on the cheap.
But for Leeds, Guerreiro is very much a top target with the Whites looking to bring him to Elland Road.
Prior to Firpo’s signing and in their first season back in the Premier League, Leeds used a combination of Dallas and Gjanni Alioski as left-back. However, despite the pair impressing, neither calls the position their natural position. And with Alioski leaving as a free agent at the end of his contract, Leeds moved to bring in Firpo.
However, the former Barcelona star has not had the impact Leeds hoped. He has featured twice this season since returning from injury. He made his return as a second-half substitute in the goalless draw against Aston Villa on October 2, before starting and playing 82 minutes of the 2-0 defeat at Leicester on October 20.
Since the defeat at the King Power, Firpo has been an unused substitute in their last three games.
And it seems the Whites are now seeking an upgrade with Leeds making Guerreiro their No 1 target.
Now in his seventh season at Dortmund, Guerreiro has scored 37 goals and has won 56 caps for Portugal.