According to reports, Leeds are interested in signing Ajax defender Nicolas Tagliafico.
With Gjanni Alioski set to leave Marcelo Bielsa’s side in the summer once his contract expires – there have even been suggestions that he has agreed a pre-contract with Turkish Super Lig giants Galatasaray – it’s no surprise that the Premier League club appear to be on the look-out for a new left-back.
Dutch journalist Valentijn Driessen revealed during the broadcast of Ajax’s Europa League clash against AS Roma on Thursday night that the Whites “would like to have” the 28-year-old.
Since joining from Argentinian side Independiente, the £22.5m-rated Tagliafico has established himself as a key part of Ajax’s line-up, even helping them reach the Champions League semi-finals just a couple of seasons ago.
Dubbed as “fierce” and someone who “works hard”, he has got the kind of attacking instincts as a left-back which would surely please Bielsa. A profile done by Football.London revealed: “In Argentina, Tagliafico is regarded as the heir to Zanetti because of his lung-busting stamina, excellent technique and continuous attacking threat.”
With a decent record of 13 goals and 18 assists in 135 games for Ajax as a left-back, it’s the 28-year-old’s underlying numbers which really stand out and make him someone who could be a game-changer for Bielsa.
As per WhoScored, Tagliafico averages far more shots, key passes, dribbles and crosses per game in league football than Alioski has done this season, and is comfortably better than him defensively, too. While the two players are evenly-matched for tackles made, it’s the Argentine who wins when it comes to interceptions and clearances, while also being dribbled past on fewer occasions.
Having a marauding left-back like Tagliafico – who this season was recorded by UEFA as having a faster sprint speed than Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi – could add a whole new dimension to Leeds’ attacks and ensure that Bielsa’s side aren’t just looking to the likes of Patrick Bamford and Raphinha for attacking inspiration.
Meanwhile, Leeds must unleash this academy starlet…