With reports linking Leeds United with a move for Lille starlet Boubakary Soumare, Victor Orta could land the Whites their very own Paul Pogba.
Soumare’s ability to break up the play, but also drive forward with the ball and be a real threat in transitions makes him an ideal partner alongside Kalvin Phillips in the Leeds engine room.
He ranks in the top seven for both tackles and interceptions made per game in Ligue 1 for Lille, while he places fifth when it comes to dribbles per match.
While Phillips can be the protective shield in front of the Leeds back-four, Soumare can help out the England international with the dirty work, before springing forward to launch counter-attacks for the Elland Road side.
It’s no surprise that Lille president Gerard Lopez has waxed lyrical about the French side’s prodigy, declaring: “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. He’s a clear vision of where he wants to go and he’s working very hard to get there.”
And, his teammate at the French side, former Swansea midfielder Renato Sanches, said: “He’s a great player. He’s so young and a great talent – a happy and humble guy. I don’t know when he’s going. It’s not my business. But he will be a good player in the future. Even better than now. He’s athletic. He’s fast. He’s strong. He has technique. He’s prepared for the Premier League.”
As Sanches says, the £20.7m-rated powerhouse looks tailor made to play in English football based on his physical profile, and given the way Bielsa likes his Leeds team to be set up in terms of pressing and winning the ball back as quickly as possible, he seems like a superb signing if Victor Orta can pull it off.
While Leeds fans may be raising their eyebrows at the prospect of signing a Pogba of their own, Soumare reportedly comes “without the baggage” of the United midfielder, which means they would just be getting a supremely talented footballer on the pitch.