Leeds were, unsurprisingly, rather quiet during the January transfer window.
However, their efforts ahead of the summer are seemingly being ramped up as each week passes by.
Leeds are reportedly eyeing a switch for Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare.
The player is now valued at around £20.7m via Transfermarkt but it wouldn’t be a shock to see a similar bid to Newcastle’s required in order to prise him away in a few months time.
After all, Fabrizio Romano recently claimed that Leicester were also stepping up their pursuit of Soumare, someone he claims might be worth around £30.3m.
When Kalvin Phillips doesn’t play at the base of Marcelo Bielsa’s midfield, his team tends to struggle. Of the four games that Pascal Struijk has played in that part of the pitch as his replacement, Leeds have failed to win a single one of them.
In fact, in nearly every one of those games, they’ve been utterly demoralised, losing those outings by an aggregate scoreline of 15-6.
Even if the young Dutchman scored at the Emirates when playing in that role, he clearly doesn’t offer the same sort of presence and composure that Phillips does.
With that in mind, finding someone externally that’s capable of playing in that role has to be among Victor Orta’s priorities for the summer. Fortunately, they’d find a perfect remedy in Soumare, a player hotly tipped as one of the next big things in French football.
Compared to Paul Pogba, the 21-year-old is improving by the day and his enormous range of qualities make for eye-catching reading.
Speaking about the midfield general in 2020, Lille president Gerard Lopez commented: “He’s one of the very best at his job. He’s technical, with incredible physical power and wins a great deal of possession. He’s a modern No.6 or 8. We’ll see him in the France team very soon.”
Soumare is yet to be capped by his country but a quick look at the statistics tells you it might not be long before France come knocking. Certainly, a move to the illustrious Premier League will help his cause.
If we use Soccerment’s comparison tool, we can easily compare Soumare and Phillips. Above, the Leeds target’s statistics appear in blue while Phillips’ are in green. That means the French prodigy has a greater success rate when it comes to aerial duels, tackles, passing and dribbling.
It may come as a surprise to see a defensive midfield usurping someone as busy as Phillips, but it only goes to show why he’d also be an upgrade on Struijk.
It is imperative that Leeds sign someone like this in the summer. It could be the difference between finishing in the top half and languishing in the bottom section of the table.