Leeds United could sign Marcelo Bielsa’s dream player in Napoli and North Macedonia midfielder Eljif Elmas.
In a piece written by The Athletic, they said: “With a contract until 2025 it’s likely to take an offer in excess of the €17m plus add-ons that the Italians paid Fenerbahce in 2019.
“Over the last 12 months Leeds, Benfica and Borussia Dortmund are understood to have shown an interest in a mixture of loan or permanent deals for Elmas — who doesn’t have a release clause in his contract — but others have him on their radar too.”
When you think of the kind of player Bielsa would love, you think of words like intensity, hard work and selflessness – not to mention the technical ability to go along with those attributes too.
And in the 21-year-old Elmas, Victor Orta could find exactly that.
His head coach at the international level, Igor Angelovski, has spoken highly of the kind of mix of physical and technical quality that he possesses and even tipped him to become a great player.
He said: “Elmas is a good guy and a very strong player. He has physique, technical skills, he is fast, ball to foot, but above all, he is fast with the mind and has a very strong character. He was born to become a great player and will become one of the best…The boy has the characteristics to work on himself and become stronger and stronger.”
Meanwhile, his agent added: “I think Napoli have a jewel. A young footballer, a leader of his national team who often scores goals.”
Even at 21, Elmas has already built up considerable experience playing for Napoli and will also be a part of North Macedonia’s squad for the upcoming EUROs along with Leeds man Gjanni Alioski.
And, in a ‘one to watch’ profile done by ESPN ahead of the tournament that starts on Friday, it said: “Despite his young age, Elmas has already accumulated 27 senior caps for his country and is comfortable playing either as an inverted winger or central attacking midfielder. A strong-running midfielder, capable with either foot, he’s skilled at making purposeful runs into the box and is a fine finisher when he gets on the end of crosses or picks up loose balls. He scored the winner in the famous 2-1 victory against Germany in March.”
Given his ability to play in a number of positions across midfield, and the fact he appears to be someone who puts the team first with his hard running, Orta could land a dream signing for Bielsa.