If the summer transfer window was anything to go by, Premier League newcomers Leeds United are going to be linked to every man and his dog, though there is one name they should genuinely be considering a move for…
According to Diario Sport (via the Daily Mail), the Yorkshire giants have entered the race to sign Barcelona prodigy Riqui Puig this January as he continues to be shunned by Ronald Koeman.
They are likely to face competition from Monaco, RB Leipzig and Real Betis, though it is claimed that the 21-year-old’s agent has directly contacted Victor Orta and co over a potential switch to Elland Road.
Marcelo Bielsa’s style of football is deemed a perfect fit for the young maestro, so perhaps the Whites boss could have another gem on his hands.
Before the likes of Kalvin Phillips, Jack Harrison and Raphinha, much of Leeds’ hopes were pinned on fan-favourite Samuel Saiz. Indeed, the enigmatic Spaniard brought excitement to United.
During the 2017/18 campaign, the Victor Orta arrival shone under Thomas Christiansen, delivering five goals and seven assists, and also averaged 2.4 dribbles, 1.9 key passes and 1.9 shots per game, via WhoScored.
“Can you applaud the dazzling brilliance of Samuel Saiz and expect Premier League clubs to ignore it?” said Jon Howe in his LeedsLive column that year.
Things then tailed off following a lengthy suspension for allegedly spitting at an opposition manager, though to this day, he’s never truly been replaced.
He often played alongside Pablo Hernandez, so the need for another creative influence may be required in Yorkshire, especially with the veteran coming towards the end of his career at 35.
This is where Puig should come in.
The La Masia sensation has received many plaudits throughout his short career to date – former Barca boss Quique Seitan dubbed him “extraordinary” whilst legendary magician of the game, Xavi, who once said: “The truth is that he is a boy who breathes talent and who plays easy. He has self-confidence, personality, does not hide, and asks for the ball.”
Puig, who is capped at U21 level for Spain, is valued at just £18m by Transfermarkt, so it could be quite the steal by Orta if he manages to pull it off.
Both Bielsa and the Barcelona outcast could be a match made in heaven.
AND in other news, Radrizzani must accept it’s time to sell long-serving Leeds outcast…