Leeds United

Leeds United

Premier League • England

Victor Orta relents as Leeds agree to make LaLiga striker first January signing

James Marshment
Victor Orta, Leeds United director of football

Leeds United are reportedly close to agreeing a deal to sign a teenage striker from Espanyol after Victor Orta seemingly agreed to meet the LaLiga sides transfer terms.

Since their return to the Premier League in summer 2020, Leeds have invested heavily in their youth set-up. As part of the club’s long-term vision under director of football Orta, Leeds have been snapping up some of the best young talent in both England and abroad.

Learning their craft under the expert eye of Under-23s coach Mark Jackson, Leeds ultimately hope to save themselves millions in transfer fees by putting in place a selection of players one day capable of success.

Playing in the same high-energy, high-press fashion, United’s Under-23s earned promotion to Premier League 2 Division One in Jackson’s first season. Now competing with the country’s other best youngsters, United have a plethora of emerging talent all looking well-placed to make the senior team one day.

Here, we have taken a look at the six most searched for Leeds Under-23s stars, together with their prospects of making it under Bielsa.

Leeds though continue to try and strengthen their Under-23s pool. Indeed, reports recently claimed they are looking to LaLiga with Espanyol’s Mateo Joseph Fernandez next in their sights

The 18-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and is very much a man in demand.

And it’s Leeds who appear to have beaten off Barcelona and Manchester City in the race for his signature.

Leeds one of a number of clubs interested in Eddie Nketiah

Arsenal forward Eddie Nketiah has been linked with a January return to Leeds United, with more news on Ross Barkley and Marcus Edwards.

However, securing his signing has proved difficult for United. Despite having just over seven months left on his deal, Espanyol have been holding out for a £1m.

Leeds’ initial offer was understood to be around the £450,000 mark.

However, as per La Grada, Orta has now relented and agreed to Espanyol’s demands over Fernandez.

As such, he is expected to become Leeds’ first new arrival of the January transfer window with an agreement now close to being finalised.

Rodrigo improvement hailed by Beckford

Fernandez won’t be the only Spanish striker on Leeds’ books and he will be in good company alongside Rodrigo Moreno.

The Spain international has endured a tough start to the season under Bielsa. However, he’s rolled up his sleeves in recent games and shown a marked improvement in his displays.

And his determination to prove a success has been hailed by former Leeds striker Jermaine Beckford.

“Rodrigo for me is one of those players – you can see the quality that he has. You can see the energy that he has. You can see his technical ability is brilliant,” Beckford said on the official Leeds United podcast.

“I just felt his fitness levels weren’t up to scratch. But now he’s had a run of games you can see what he’s about.

“This is the Rodrigo that we signed, you’re seeing it for us and you’re also seeing it for Spain. I’m so happy for him, he’s looking the real deal now.”

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