Bielsa eyes reunion with experienced defender to shore up Leeds backline

Date published: Thursday 25th February 2021 4:15 - Samuel Bannister

Leeds are reportedly considering a move for Torino defender Nicolas Nkoulou in the summer, when he will become a free agent.

Nkoulou has been a key player for Torino since joining them from Lyon in 2017. He has made 128 appearances in total for them, although his gametime has decreased somewhat this year.

Out of contract at the end of the season, it seems unlikely the 30-year-old will renew. He still has plenty to offer at a decent level, though, so several clubs could come calling.

According to Calciomercato, Leeds have emerged as a potential suitor.

Before his time with Lyon and then Torino, Nkoulou had a five-year stint with Marseille. In one of those, his manager was none other than Marcelo Bielsa.

The current Leeds boss clearly has fond memories of the player, and would be interested in a reunion at Elland Road.

Leeds have struggled defensively this season, with injuries to summer signings Robin Koch and Diego Llorente not helping.

Pascal Struijk has stepped in and impressed, but in doing so, has become a target for other clubs. Whether he stays or goes, the Whites may need more options at the back anyway.

Given that Nkoulou would be available without a transfer fee, he may be a shrewd reinforcement. His existing relationship with Bielsa could help him settle quickly.

The former Cameroon international would provide major experience to Leeds at the back. However, it remains to be seen if negotiations will be successful.

Bielsa overseeing transfer plans

Leeds’ interest in Nkoulou is another sign that may point to Bielsa continuing in the dugout next season.

Bielsa is out of contract at the end of the season, but seems to be planning ahead for the future.

A recent report highlighted how Leeds have already spoken to their manager about potential transfer plans as they look to build next season.

That would indicate that the Argentine could oversee a second season in the Premier League and fourth campaign overall as Leeds boss.

READ MOREBielsa stops short of ‘yes’ but drops massive hint he’ll stay at Leeds

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