Leeds United could reignite their interest in a deal to bring Nahitan Nandez to Elland Road in the winter transfer market.
According to recent reports from Italy (via Leeds Live), Victor Orta could once again pursue a deal for the Cagliari midfielder in January, with the Whites having been heavily linked with a move for the 25-year-old over the course of the summer transfer window.
The report goes on to state that, after failing to secure a move prior to the passing of the summer transfer deadline, with the likes of Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspur reported to have been keen on the Uruguay international, Nandez is eager to find a new club in January.
Previous reports had also claimed that, despite the midfielder having a €36m (£31m) release clause in his current contract at Cagliari, the Serie A side were willing to part with the 25-year-old for a figure in the region of €26m (£22m) this summer – something that could well remain the case going forwards.
While Orta did secure the signings of Daniel James, Junior Firpo and Kristoffer Klaesson this summer, as well as the permanent addition of Jack Harrison, it is undeniable that the director of football’s failure to bring in any reinforcements in the middle of the park was something of a disaster by the Spaniard.
Indeed, with only Kalvin Phillips as a viable option in defensive midfield, as well as Mateusz Klich, Jamie Shackleton and Adam Forshaw – who hasn’t played a league game for almost two years due to injury – in central midfield, it is clear that the position is one in which Marcelo Bielsa lacks any real depth.
However, the news that Nandez could well be available once again in January presents Orta with an opportunity to make up for his failure this summer, as the 25-year-old would appear to make an excellent addition to Bielsa’s options in midfield.
Indeed, over his 32 Serie A appearances for Cagliari last season, the £19.8m-rated midfielder – who can operate from defensive, central on the right of midfield – scored two goals, registered two assists and created four big chances for his teammates, as well as taking an average of one shot and making one key pass per game.
The player Italian football expert Conor Clancy dubbed a “machine” also impressed in metrics more typical of his position, making an average of 0.7 interceptions, 1.8 tackles, 1.5 clearances and winning 6.1 duels per match.
These returns saw the £42k-per-week Uruguayan earn a seasonal SofaScore match rating of 6.80, with his performances playing a key role in ensuring that Cagliari retained their status as a top-flight side last term.
As such, it would certainly appear as if the addition of Nandez would be a very smart piece of business for Orta to get over the line this January, as the 25-year-old would not only plug a gap in the Leeds squad but would also help to raise the standard of quality in Bielsa’s midfield.