Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa could sign his club’s new Ian Harte in Rangers star Borna Barisic.
Reports in recent days have suggested that the Whites are one of the sides interested in signing the Croatia international this summer as they make signing a new left-back a priority in the transfer window.
The likes of Arsenal, Aston Villa and Wolves are among the Premier League clubs interested in luring the £15k-a-week earning full-back south of the border, but if Bielsa can convince Barisic to come to Elland Road, then he could well have his club’s new Harte.
A profile done by Marching On Together, said: “Ian Harte found himself become Leeds’ regular left back in 1998 under the stewardship of George Graham, after featuring frequently in the previous two seasons.
“Harte was a dead ball specialist becoming the free kick and penalty taker for the club, leading to him scoring 39 goals in 288 appearances. Had the season of his life during Leeds’ Champions League run of 2000-2001.”
That ability to find goals despite being a left-back – namely through set-pieces – but also from some powerful strikes as well, was a real feature of Harte’s game, and his attacking threat is equally matched by the destructive Barisic.
Hailed as “outstanding“, the Croatian flier racked up 14 assists in 50 games across all competitions last season, including enjoying an impressive Europa League campaign too – he bagged three goals and set up another three as the Gers made it to the last 16.
The sporting director at his former club, Osijek, Alen Petrovic even said: “Borno isn’t just the best left-back in Croatia but the whole region. I’ve watched him all my life and he is the best crosser of the ball in the country.”
And, the man who signed him for his former club, Osijek, Zoran Zekic, said: “We used to make a made a plan for every game and every game we made that plan 90 per cent around playing it to Borna Barisic. He is technically good, understands football, his timing is very good too and he has great crossing ability.”
Having someone like Barisic flying up and down the left touch-line, delivering superb deliveries into the box either through open play or from free-kick and corner situations, would be very much reminiscent of Harte in his pomp.
Victor Orta could strike gold with a move for Barisic this summer.