Leeds United have been dealt a potential setback in their bid to bring Noah Okafor to Elland Road in the January transfer window.
That’s according to Florian Plettenberg, with the Sky Sports Germany journalist revealing in a recent post on Twitter that Manchester City, Liverpool and AC Milan have now joined Leeds in the race for the Red Bull Salzburg centre-forward this winter – who is said to be available for a figure in the region of €40m (£35m).
In his tweet, Plettenberg said: “News Okafor: Transfer in winter is possible! No negotiations now but there’s is interest from clubs like MCFC, LFC & AC Milan. Been told that Manchester United is not in. World Cup [is] very important now. Price tag could be around €35-40m. Top season with Salzburg so far.”
In a further tweet, the Sky reporter went on to relay the comments of Salzburg sporting director Christoph Freund, who claimed that, should the 22-year-old go on to enjoy a fine World Cup campaign with Switzerland this winter, demand for the striker could skyrocket by the time January rolls around.
In this post, the journalist said: “News Okafor: Sporting director Freund confirmed our exclusive news. About a transfer in winter he said to Sky Austria: ‘Okafor really took off last year. I hope he plays a good World Cup, then the stock Okafor can become very interesting. I don’t rule it out!'”
While Okafor’s returns in Austria have been incredibly impressive so far this season, should the Swiss sensation go on to prove himself on the international stage at the Qatar World Cup this winter, the argument that Orta simply must launch a bid for the centre-forward in January is an incredibly easy one to make.
Indeed, early indications of the 22-year-old’s potential are extremely promising, with the £22m-rated talent having already bagged seven goals, registered one assist and created two big chances over his 14 Austrian Bundesliga appearances this season.
The striker has also taken an average of 1.9 shots – 0.9 of which have hit the target, made 1.3 key passes and completed 1.1 dribbles per game, in addition to scoring four of his goals with his left foot and three with his right.
These returns have seen the player who Football Talent Scout Jacek Kulig dubbed “incredibly prolific” average an incredibly impressive SofaScore match rating of 7.03, currently ranking him as Salzburg’s joint 12th-best performer in the league.
The £13k-per-week forward has also caught the eye over his six appearances in the Champions League this term, scoring three goals – against AC Milan, Chelsea and GNK Dinamo Zagreb – as well as taking an average of 1.8 shots – one of which has hit the target – making one key pass and completing 1.2 dribbles per game.
As such, while the numbers posted by the eight-cap starlet this season are impressive, should Okafor go on to shine against the likes of Brazil, Cameroon and Serbia in Group G of the World Cup this winter, it would likely convince Orta – as well as a number of other interested clubs – that the centre-forward is well and truly ready for Premier League football.
So, the 22-year-old is very much one to watch in Qatar for all involved with the Whites, as, should the striker prove himself on the biggest stage of international football, it would appear extremely advisable for Orta to launch a bid for the Salzburg sensation in the January transfer window.