Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa could finally replace England international Ben White by signing Middlesbrough defender Dael Fry this summer.
After enjoying a successful loan spell at Elland Road last season, that saw the Whites clinch promotion back to the Premier League, White made his return back to parent club Brighton, with Leeds unable to agree a permanent deal for him.
Now, Football League World claim that Bielsa’s side are one of a number of Premier League clubs who have scouted Boro’s Fry recently, although it’s currently Championship play-off winners Brentford who are in front at the moment.
Standing at an imposing 6 foot 4, Fry has got many of the same attributes that marked White out as a real stalwart in his loan spell at Leeds last season.
The centre-back, just a couple of months older than White, has proven to be a real man-mountain for Boro at the back, averaging an impressive 7.06 match rating in the Championship as per Whoscored, making 1.8 interceptions, 3.9 clearances and being dribbled past just 0.2 times per game – compare that to the former Leeds man who averaged 2.5 interceptions, 2.7 clearances and was dribbled past more than double that.
It’s no surprise then that Boro boss Neil Warnock has been quick to praise the 23-year-old, even drawing comparisons with Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk.
He said: “The headlines that shocked me yesterday were a group of people wanting Jurgen Klopp out. That is football at its craziest. He has lost the best centre-half in the world (Virgil van Dijk) and you cannot replace them.
“You can put people in and think you can do this. But you cannot replace quality like that. And we cannot replace Dael. He is our best centre-half by a mile. We can play around him and if Dael is fit, we have got different people to fit here and there. But we cannot replace Dael. He is the complete player for me.
“He just gives us so much confidence. I am sure Jurgen, when Van Dijk is there, never thinks about the back four because he does it for them. You just have to hope your best players don’t get injured. Whatever level it is.”
The season before last saw White become a real cornerstone of the Leeds defence for Bielsa, playing every single game in the Championship. For the Whites to lose him after a campaign where he held that much importance would have been a real gutting blow.
But in Fry, they could find someone who’s similarly influential and has the same kind of defensive nous and strength to become a real force at Elland Road under Bielsa.