Phil Hay has dropped an update on the future of reported Leeds United transfer target Brenden Aaronson.
In a recent Q&A on The Athletic, the Leeds United correspondent revealed that the Red Bull Salzburg attacking midfielder – for whom Victor Orta saw first a £15m then a £20m offer rejected in the January transfer window – remains a target of the Whites’ Spanish sporting director this summer.
In response to a supporter’s question regarding Leeds’ potential summer transfer business, Hay said: “Aaronson is clearly someone they really want.”
With Leeds rather desperately lacking a forward-thinking and creative central midfielder in their ranks, in addition to the fact that Jesse Marsch has previously worked with the USA international, it is not difficult to see why Orta would be keen to secure the signing of Aaronson this summer.
Indeed, the 21-year-old has been a constant livewire for Salzburg over his 24 Austrian Bundesliga appearances this season, with the £18m-rated talent bagging four goals, providing five assists and creating seven big chances for his teammates, as well as taking an average of 2.1 shots, making 1.6 key passes and completing 1.5 dribbles per game.
However, it was during the first-leg round of 16 Champions League tie against Bayern Munich in which the £19k-per-week sensation particularly caught the eye, with the 18-time capped international setting up Chukwubuike Adamu for Salzburg’s surprise opener with a deft touch on the edge of the box and drawing a fantastic save from Sven Ulreich after some incredibly tidy footwork in the Bayern penalty area, as well as completing five key passes, two dribbles and winning five duels over the course of the 90 minutes.
Furthermore, Aaronson’s 27.23 pressures per 90 over his eight appearances in the Champions League is enough to rank the 21-year-old in the top 1% of all attacking midfielders in Europe’s big five leagues in this particular metric over the last 365 days – something that clearly suits the way Marsch sets Leeds up tactically.
As such, while the signing of a player with as high a ceiling as the American will likely hinge on whether or not the Whites can secure survival in the Premier League this season, should they go on to do so, Orta simply must do everything in his power to bring the Salzburg starlet to Elland Road this summer, as Marsch would undoubtedly be buzzing to work with Aaronson once again.