Leeds United missed out on the signing of Marseille striker Bamba Dieng on transfer deadline day, in a move that could prove to be a disasterclass by Victor Orta.
The Whites had looked set to complete the signing of the 22-year-old on Thursday but Leeds pulled out of a deal for the young striker after he had his head turned by OGC Nice and didn’t get on his intended flight to England.
Following the injury to Rodrigo in Leeds’ draw against Everton on Tuesday night, attacking reinforcements were perhaps always going to be the aim for the Yorkshire club on deadline day, and Orta worked quickly to target Dieng after a move for Cody Gakpo fell through.
It was unfortunate that both moves fell through but given how close he was to joining, Dieng was ultimately the biggest disaster.
He broke onto the scene with Marseille last season, contributing seven goals in 25 Ligue 1 appearances for Les Olympiens, having joined the club from Senegalese side Diambars FC, initially on loan.
That may not be the most sparkling tally but the 22-year-old could still have been a superb addition at Elland Road.
Indeed, he has been highly praised in the past, with Didier Drogba describing him as “skilful in front of goal’, while further acclaim comes courtesy of his former Marseille boss Jorge Sampaoli, who hailed the forward an “explosive” player.
International teammate Sadio Mane even suggested that he could become one of the best strikers in the world. With that in mind, missing out on his signature could well come back to bite them.
Dieng, incidentally, could have proven to be a very similar player to the former Liverpool star in Marsch’s squad.
According to FbRef, Mane is the fourth-most similar player to Dieng in terms of play style, and considering his impact at Liverpool, where he won the Premier League and Champions League in Jurgen Klopp’s side, he could have proven to be an incredible late addition to Marsch’s side.
Last season saw the two Senegalese forwards register extremely similar numbers in terms of goals per shot (both 0.16), pass completion percentage (73.6 vs 75.1) and expected assists per 90 minutes (0.11 vs 0.14).
Therefore, Marsch will be gutted to miss out on such a promising youngster who had the potential to find the net with the same sort of regularity as Mane did during his time with Southampton and Liverpool.