Leeds United continue to be linked with Azzedine Ounahi, who is greatly admired throughout the club, it seems…
That is at least the suggestion made by CBS Sports reporter Ben Jacobs, who spoke to GIVEMESPORT on Victor Orta’s long-standing pursuit of the Moroccan.
He claimed: “We know that Jesse Marsch likes the player but I think the sense I’ve got with Ounahi all along is that he’s going to take his time in making a decision. Agreeing on a fee with Angers will take some time because they’re milking the amazing World Cup that he had.
“I think that it’s going to take far more than the £20m/£25m that clubs have sort of circled and offered so far, it could be £30m/£35m perhaps. Angers are trying to maximise the value as much as they can and get the best possible and inflated price.
“I don’t think that Leeds will necessarily want to move on that, now that they have brought in a couple of others. They’ve already spent a bit of money and they certainly won’t want to get sucked into a bidding war.”
This is clearly a deal that the Whites are incredibly keen to make happen, considering how it has largely dominated their transfer window despite making two other additions.
There are clear reasons for Leeds’ intense desire to acquire him, which were outlined in Qatar. Averaging a 6.97 Sofascore rating throughout their historic run to the semi-finals, the 22-year-old was a staple in the engine room, offering a hard-working quality to perfectly complement Sofyan Amrabat.
He recorded 0.9 key passes per game and paired it with a defensive work rate which often went unnoticed next to the Fiorentina man. His match averages of 1.3 tackles and one interception were integral in quietly breaking up play and starting counterattacks, qualities which led Jose Mourinho to label him “incredible“.
Ounahi’s unparalleled ability with the ball at his feet was what truly helped with his lightning-fast transitions, as he ranks in the top 1% for dribbles completed when compared to other midfielders in Europe’s five main leagues over the past 12 months.
He also places in the top 16% for total shots among that particular bracket of players, further highlighting the numerous strings that he has to his bow.
A fine presence to have in midfield who can provide at both ends of the pitch, it will be a cathartic feeling for Leeds if they can sign him, bringing an end to this saga with their dream deal under wraps.