Leeds United could sign a perfect midfield partner for Kalvin Phillips in AZ Alkmaar’s Teun Koopmeiners.
In a list of options suggested by The Athletic’s Phil Hay as potential cover for Kalvin Phillips, Koopmeiner’s name came into the discussion, with the reveal that he could be set for a move away from the Netherlands this summer.
It was suggested: “The indications from Holland are that the 23-year-old, who won his first Holland cap in October, is ready for a move and his agent, Bart Baving, told Italian media last month that ‘the time has come for the next move’. However, he will not be cheap and several Italian clubs are monitoring him.”
There’s no questioning that one of the biggest problems for Marcelo Bielsa ever since he has been at the club is how to go about replacing Phillips if he’s out injured – Darren Bent effectively dubbed him as irreplaceable.
While Koopmeiners has been suggested as potential cover for Phillips, there’s a real argument to be made that he could also be an ideal partner for the England international at Elland Road and be named in the same team when they’re both fit.
Alan Pardew, who briefly managed league rivals Ado Den Haag, waxed lyrical about the box-to-box powerhouse. Speaking to The Daily Mail, he said: “The AZ captain Teun Koopmeiners, a left-footed centre back who can sit in midfield, is probably the best player in Holland in defensive areas.”
And, in some player analysis done by The Athletic, it was suggested: “Koopmeiners has more of an attacking profile than Phillips (something that might fit with Bielsa’s standards of versatility) and there is a lot to like about him. He stands out as a very good all-rounder in top-flight terms: an extremely strong tackler who mirrors Phillips in his constant attempts to look for forward passes rather than lateral balls.
“While the match with Phillips is not perfect, it is close enough to suggest that Koopmeiners is an asset Bielsa could refine with coaching.”
Described as a “leader” by his former coach Koen Stam, Koopmeiners is AZ’s skipper, and as well as being a talented footballer, would be another important voice in the dressing room.
Leeds and Victor Orta should be all over a move for the 6 foot Dutchman, he seems like he is the perfect man to partner Phillips in the middle of the park, whilst he could also give Bielsa a player he could rely on to marshall the midfield troofs as and when the England international is unavailable.