Leeds United have been linked with central defender Nicolas N’Koulou as they head into the summer transfer window. The Whites are browsing for new defensive personnel to stack up their options after injury woes have left them short this season.
For a large chunk of the 2020/21 campaign, Marcelo Bielsa has been without summer recruits Robin Koch and Diego Llorente due to their respective fitness problems. This has forced the boss to deploy Luke Ayling at centre-back and whilst he has been reliable in an unfamiliar role, Bielsa cannot rely on him for the inevitable. It’s paramount that Leeds assert their dominance once again on the transfer market and make sure that they are fully prepared for another exciting season in the Premier League.
Calciomercato reports that N’Koulou is on Bielsa’s radar, having already worked with him in Marseille (via TEAMtalk). Currently at Torino, the defender is close to running down his current contract and will become a free agent in the summer, nulling his £6.3million valuation. Despite racking up a total of 128 appearances for his current club, he has somewhat struggled for game time this season, being demoted to the bench for 11 Serie A fixtures, as per Transfermarkt.
With Bielsa already clued up on N’Koulou’s attitude and style of play, he is an ideal scoop for Leeds. With 72 caps for his native Cameroon as well, he is a typical veteran of the game both domestically and internationally.
Looking closer at his stats, WhoScored shows that the 30-year-old has averaged more interceptions and clearances than both Liam Cooper and Koch this season, as well as giving away the least amount of fouls per game. He averages the same amount of blocks as Koch and N’Koulou also boasts a higher passing accuracy out of the three.
For Andrea Radrizzani, it should be an easy decision when looking at a proven international who has already worked with Bielsa and won’t cost him a penny come the summer. The Whites need to add depth to their squad and it should be easy work to entice a free agent to the Premier League to play for a very exciting club that could push for Europa League football.