Leeds United have been handed a huge boost in their bid to bring James McAtee to Elland Road in the summer transfer window.
That’s according to a report by The Athletic, who claim that, following previous reports of Victor Orta’s interest in signing the Manchester City midfielder this summer, Pep Guardiola’s side are now willing to allow the 19-year-old to depart The Etihad on a temporary basis ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.
The report goes on to state that the likes of Leeds, Leicester City, Brighton & Hove Albion, Southampton and Aston Villa are all keen on a move for the England under-20 international, with several unnamed top clubs believed to have made contact with the reigning Premier League champions over a move for the teenager.
While it is likely that Orta would have preferred to land McAtee on a permanent basis this summer, the news that City are now open to the idea of the 19-year-old leaving the club on a temporary basis ahead of the new Premier League campaign is nevertheless sure to have left the Whites’ director of football buzzing.
Indeed, it is not difficult to see why a number of top-flight clubs are interested in a move for the £2.7m-rated talent, as, over his 23 Premier League 2 appearances last season, the playmaker was in breathtaking form for Brian Barry-Murphy’s under-23 side, bagging 18 goals and providing seven assists – ranking him as the joint top scorer and fourth-highest assist supplier in the division.
However, it was not only in 2021/22 that the player who Jacek Kulig dubbed “exceptional” and claimed has a “left foot made of gold” impressed, as McAtee also scored 14 goals and registered eight assists over his 33 appearances for City’s U18 side – averaging a direct goal involvement every 97 minutes of football played – while he has also scored a total of 27 goals and provided 19 assists in 52 outings for the U23s – averaging a direct goal involvement every 89 minutes.
As such, should Orta manage to get a deal over the line for McAtee this summer, even on a temporary basis, it is clear to see that the teenager would make an exceptional addition to Jesse Marsch’s central midfield options next season – leading us to believe that the Spaniard must do everything he can to beat off the competition for the England youth international.