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Leeds bid for in-demand midfielder still highest on table – but Victor Orta hopes hit by familiar issue

Azzedine Ounahi and Sofiane Boufal

Leeds United reportedly remain cautiously optimistic they can sign Morocco midfielder Azzedine Ounahi after claims in the French media detailed the exact nature of the Whites’ offer.

Jesse Marsch’s side are on the lookout for a new midfielder this month after waving farewell to fans’ favourite Mateusz Klich. The Poland midfielder is departing Elland Road after more than five years with a move to DC United seemingly close.

And with Adam Forshaw also out of contract come the summer, the Whites are understandably keen to bring in reinforcements.

Top of their wanted list, it seems, is Morocco star Ounahi.

The Angers star is emerging as one of European football’s most in-demand midfielders after an excellent World Cup for his country. He was an ever-present in the north African country’s surprise progress through to the semi-finals. And his displays alongside Sofyan Amrabat in the heart of midfield proved the backbone of their progression.

As a result, demand to sign the 22-year-old is higher than ever. He was initially linked with Aston Villa, while he has since reportedly appeared on the watch list of Barcelona, Tottenham and PSG.

However, reports over the weekend suggested Leeds had thundered right to the front of the queue to sign him.

Indeed, Whites director of football Victor Orta has reportedly put in an offer to the Ligue 1 club that blitzes away all the competition.

That offer from Leeds is reportedly worth a fee of up to £22m (€25m) – an offer that Angers would find hard to resist.

Those transfer chances, though, were tempered somewhat amid claims PSG were ready to better their offer. As such, it was suggested the capital club are preparing to put £26.4m (€30m) on the table.

Leeds remain highest bidders for Azzedine Ounahi

However, as per Le10 Sport, PSG are yet to submit an offer to sign Ounahi. Furthermore, the French outlet claims the Ligue 1 giants have no intention of moving for the Moroccan.

And in more good news for Leeds, their offer currently remains the highest on the table. To that end, reports claim there remains an ultra cautious optimism at the Leeds end that they can secure his signing.

That said, a familiar problem may yet rear its head for Leeds. And it seems the Whites offer, albeit the highest, is not the only one on the table.

Per the article, Serie A leaders Napoli are also looking to sign Ounahi this month. And it’s claimed their current offer for his signature only arises to £13.2m (€15m). That falls some £9m short of the Leeds offer, putting them in control of their situation.

That said, Le10 Sport reports that Ounahi’s preference is to sign for the Serie A leaders. They are currently seven points clear at the Serie A summit and can also offer the player Champions League football.

As such, it is easy to understand why he currently prefers to move to the Gli Azzurri.

The article claims Leeds are continuing to pursue the deal, nonetheless.

That said, Leeds would be wise to remember how the Charles De Ketelaere saga worked out over the summer. They spent several weeks pursuing his signature, gazumping rival suitors AC Milan throughout the bidding process.

Ultimately, though, De Ketelaere’s preference was always with Milan. And it was ultimately no surprise when the Italian giants saw off Leeds to land their man.

The Whites will do well to heed those warnings again if they are to pursue Ounahi’s signature.

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