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Leeds Utd transfer news: Victor Orta gets first January signing ‘done’ – but rising costs sees fee top £17.7m

Leeds director of football Victor Orta

Leeds United are on the brink of securing their first signing of the January transfer window – but reports in the Austrian media claim the deal will come in for far higher than the Whites were initially expecting.

Jesse Marsch’s side – like the rest of the Premier League – are in the market for squad improvements in the January window. And the Whites, who are currently 14th in the Premier League, but just two points clear of the relegation zone, have one particular position in mind.

Indeed, Leeds have suffered with issues in the left-back area for much of their time back in the Premier League. The first season back among the elite saw Leeds finish ninth, with Gjanni Alioski largely filling in at left-back.

However, his departure at the end of the 2020/21 season to Al-Ahli saw Leeds move to bring in Junior Firpo. Paying £13.9m to Barcelona for his services, though, has not proved a shrewd investment.

Having struggled with injuries and inconsistent performances during his first season at Elland Road, Firpo has barely featured this. A pre-season injury in a friendly at York saw Firpo sidelined until October.

But despite returning to fitness, Firpo has managed just three appearances (and two starts, in the defeats at Leicester and Wolves) all season.

Standing in his way has been Pascal Struijk, who has been one of Leeds’ best performers this season. He was recently rewarded with a new deal, though Struijk’s future is very much seen as a centre-half; his natural position.

Now it seems the Whites are closing in on signing another player capable of playing at left-back. And according to Fabrizio Romano, an agreement to take Maximilian Wober to Elland Road has virtually been agreed.

Leeds fee for Wober likely to be higher than expected

Indeed, the signing of Wober was initially expected to be for a fee of around £9.75m up front with a further £4.4m in add-ons. However, according to another source – Austrian paper Salzburger Nachrichten – the fee will actually be some distance higher.

And while they confirm the player is ready to make the move after holding talks, his fee will actually set Leeds back nearer the £17.7m (€20m) mark with add-ons.

Discussing the imminent transfer, they claim Leeds director of football Victor Orta has thrashed out the terms of the deal and see the defender’s sale as ‘good business’.

They brought Wober – primarily a centre-half but who has been impressing at left-back this season – for €10.5m back in summer 2019 from Sevilla. So they are, in effect, close to doubling their initial investment.

Furthermore, the player is keen to make the move to West Yorkshire, with Wober not only improving his salary, but also testing himself by moving to one of the elite leagues in the world.

In addition, they claim the move will likely go through before the week is out. And RB Salzburg are clearing the decks for Wober’s exit by identyfing three potential replacements for him at left-back.

Wober, 24, is expected to sign a four-and-a-half-year deal at Leeds which will tie him to Elland Road until summer 2027.

And he will become the Whites’ third signing from Salzburg since the summer with Wober set to join former teammates Brenden Aaronson and Rasmus Kristensen at Leeds.

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