According to The Express journalist Ryan Taylor, the Yorkshire giants are one of the teams to have bid for Angers SCO attacking midfielder Azzedine Ounahi.
“I know they put in a bid for around about £17.5 million,” he told GIVEMESPORT before revealing that the likes of Napoli, Marseille and Almeira were also keen to sign him before the January 31st deadline.
It comes after Foot Mercato first revealed that the Whites had submitted an offer, though his current £10k-per-week deal isn’t set to expire until 2026 and that – combined with his sensational exploits at the World Cup in Qatar – puts the Ligue 1 side in a very strong negotiating position.
Some reports in Italy suggest he’d be available for €25m (£22m).
If Orta were to stun the rest of Europe by landing Ouhani, then he could well hand Marsch some much-needed impetus in the final third, where the American has struggled with injuries – namely to top talisman Patrick Bamford and summer signing Luis Sinisterra – and inconsistencies.
The Moroccan, 22, is an “elegant” and industrious midfielder capable of making things happen in transition, having been lauded as a “little protege” by Corentin Bouchard, his former assistant manager at Avranches.
“He is a beautiful player, an elegant player, the kind of player people go to the stadium to see. I just hope he continues to amaze everyone,” he further claimed to Sky Sports.
Indeed, Ounahi ranks inside the top 1% of all midfielders across Europe’s top five divisions for successful dribbles per 90 (2.48) and has similar statistical traits to that of FC Barcelona duo Frenkie de Jong and Gavi, according to FBref‘s model.
He could, therefore, be an ideal addition to the engine room on top of mooted striker target Georginio Rutter, who has emerged as a likely signing in the coming days, with Sky in Germany revealing that Leeds were closing in on a club-record £35.3m deal for him.
The France U21 international is a versatile attacker capable of playing through the middle and out on the left. Whilst his returns of two goals from 15 appearances in the Bundesliga this campaign aren’t anything to shout about, he did deliver 13 goal contributions for Hoffenheim last term in what was a breakthrough season.
Rutter is described by talent scout Jacek Kulig as a “complete striker” and a “clinical finisher” with “blistering pace,” which bodes well for his chances of being a success for both Leeds and in the Premier League, whilst journalist Joe Donnohue has also waxed lyrical about the 20-year-old.
“He’s physical, beats players 1-v-1, packs a punch with his shooting but equally, is unpolished and as with any transfer above a certain threshold, a calculated risk. That said, think his profile is the type of addition Leeds need in their forward line.”
Both Ounahi and Rutter would be worthy additions this month, so Orta must do all he can to secure the pair of them as on the above evidence, they would clearly add tenfold to Marsch’s struggling side.
Leeds could well form one hell of an exciting duo for years to come by signing both the Angers midfielder and the Hoffenheim striker before the deadline on January 31st.