Leeds United are still in the race to bring Ismaila Sarr to Elland Road this summer.
That’s according to Abdellah Boulma, with the French journalist revealing in a recent post on Twitter that, after the 24-year-old’s proposed £25m move to Aston Villa fell through due to a number of complications in negotiations, both Leeds and Crystal Palace remain keen on a late move for the Watford forward.
However, a further report by The Athletic has now revealed that, following the collapse of the Senegal international’s switch to Villa Park, the Hornets are keen on opening new contract negotiations with the winger – in a bid to stave off the Whites’ and the Eagles’ interest in pursuing a deal for Sarr in the coming days.
In his post, Boulma said: “Ismaila Sarr has already taken his visit to Aston Villa, but the player does not agree with the club at the moment. Salary seems to be a problem. Kortney Hause and Cameron Archer were in the deal. Leeds and Crystal Palace are still in the race.”
Considering the sheer amount of interest in Sarr’s services this summer, in addition to the undoubted talent the 24-year-old possesses, should Orta manage to get a deal over the line for the winger prior to next week’s transfer deadline, it would certainly represent something of a coup for the Whites’ director of football.
Indeed, despite playing for two poor Watford sides, the £24.3m-rated talent has highly impressed over 50 appearances in his two campaigns in the top flight of English football, scoring ten goals, registering eight assists – averaging a direct goal contribution every 216 minutes played – and creating 14 big chances for his teammates, in addition to taking an average of 1.7 shots, making 0.95 key passes and completing 1.6 dribbles per game.
In comparison, over Raphinha’s 65 Premier League appearances during his two-year stay at Elland Road, the Brazilian winger scored 17 goals, provided 12 assists – averaging a direct goal contribution every 182 minutes played – and created 22 big chances for his teammates, as well as taking an average of 2.35 shots, making 2.0 key passes and completing 1.85 dribbles per fixture.
As such, while it is true that the latter slightly betters the former’s returns in the Premier League, considering Raphinha’s metrics saw him earn a £55m move to Barcelona this summer, it is evident that Sarr is indeed an extremely talented player in his own right – with his already impressive returns only likely to improve if playing for a side not fighting at the bottom of the table.
Furthermore, with it being well known that the Whites are looking to bring in a new forward to provide Jesse Marsch with greater depth behind Patrick Bamford through the middle, the £71k-per-week Sarr’s ability to be deployed at centre-forward – a position he has played 33 times in his career – would also appear to be an extremely useful string to the attacker’s bow.
Indeed, taking into account all of the above, should Orta manage to get a late £25m deal over the line for the Senegalese sensation who Troy Deeney dubbed “unbelievable” this summer, it would undoubtedly represent an extremely impressive coup for the club.