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Leeds United remain in the lead to sign Ola Aina

Leeds United continue to be linked with a move for Ola Aina as Victor Orta looks to tie up a move for yet another defender…

What’s the latest?

That’s according to Italian publication Tuttosport (via Sport Witness), who claim that among the several English clubs interested in the Nigerian defender, the Whites remain in the lead.

Due to his ‘erratic’ performances, as described in the report, Torino have become willing to allow Aina to depart Turin.

However, they will demand a fee of around €8m (£7m), which is smaller than what has been touted in the past and could be a result of only having six months left on his £31k-per-week deal.

He’d be an “unreal” signing

With one defensive deal already sorted by Orta this month in Max Wober, it seems that he has made the back four his priority for bolstering Jesse Marsch’s squad this January.

Leeds sit just two points above the relegation zone, having conceded 31 goals in just 17 league games. It is clear where their problems lie, and in Aina they could gain a solid option to cover plenty of positions.

In fact, his proficiency in a number of roles once led Fulham podcaster Sammy James to dub him “Mr Versatile”, before continuing: “He can play on the left, can play on the right. I think he’s pretty solid defensively… always doing a job for us whenever he’s put in the side.”

Although the earlier report does question Aina’s consistency, his quality shines through even when his form is struggling.

Should Leeds sign Ola Aina?

Yes

Yes

No

No

He still ranks in the top 7% for dribbles created among defenders in Europe’s top five leagues in 2022 and pairs this with an average of 1.3 tackles and 1.4 clearances per game in Serie A. This has led to a respectable 6.88 Sofascore rating in the Italian top flight this season.

What also makes him an even more attractive proposition is his readymade experience in the Premier League, in which he has featured 34 times between spells at Chelsea and Fulham.

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Despite being relegated with the Cottagers during the 2020/21 season, he scored twice in that campaign, including a scorching effort which won his club’s goal of the season award. This came just a year after his creative exploits were lauded by Michael Oti Adjei, who dubbed one of the 26-year-old’s assists “unreal” during the 2019 African Cup of Nations.

It is clear that Aina boasts both offensive and defensive benefits, and with the latter most concerning for Leeds, this marks a huge step towards fixing one of their big issues from the season so far. It is a deal that they must make and would be a, incredible piece of business so early in the transfer window.