Leeds United are interested in a deal to bring Joao Pedro to Elland Road this summer.
That’s according to a report by 90min, who claim that, despite Newcastle United being in advanced talks over a £35m deal for the Watford centre-forward, Victor Orta is keeping a very close eye on the situation of the centre-forward ahead of potentially launching a late move of his own for the 20-year-old in the coming days.
The report goes on to state that Everton have also made contact with the Championship side regarding a deal for the Brazilian, while Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leicester City and Nottingham Forest are also thought to be keen on the striker.
Considering the sheer amount of potential Joao Pedro undoubtedly possesses, in addition to the fact that the signing of a new centre-forward is known to be Orta’s priority over the remainder of the summer transfer window, it is not difficult to see why the Whites’ director of football would be keen on a deal to bring the Watford starlet to Elland Road in the coming days.
Indeed, following his arrival at Vicarage Road in January 2020, the £12.6m-rated talent made an immediate impact over his 38 Championship appearances in his first full season with the Hornets back in 2020/21, scoring nine goals, registering two assists and creating two big chances for his teammates, as well as taking an average of 1.8 shots, completing 1.6 dribbles and making 0.6 key passes per game.
These returns saw the 20-year-old average an eye-catching SofaScore match rating of 6.90, ranking him as Watford’s joint 13th-best performer in the league that season – with his goals playing a key role in the Hornet’s promotion back to the top flight.
The £30k-per-week forward once again impressed over his 28 Premier League appearances – only 15 of which came as starts – last season, bagging three goals, providing one assist and creating five big chances, in addition to taking an average of 1.7 shots, completing 2.2 dribbles and making 0.7 key passes per fixture.
This level of performance has seen the youngster come in for a great deal of praise, with The Athletic’s Adam Leventhal dubbing the attacker a “prodigious talent,” Keith Andrews labelling the Brazilian “special” and Claudio Ranieri stating his belief that Joao Pedro is “one of the best young players in the Premier League“.
In comments cited by the Evening Standard earlier this year, Ranieri said: “Look, for me, Joao Pedro is a crack. He is young and he has to improve a lot. But he is also one of the best young players in the Premier League, for me.
“For me, Joao is a very good player but we have to leave him to improve slowly, slowly, without putting pressure on him. He has to improve a lot, he has very good skills, but slowly, slowly please.”
As such, when taking into account his impressive returns, his abundance of potential and his apparent availability in the market, should Orta manage to steal the forward away from Newcastle’s clutches prior to September’s transfer deadline, the Spaniard would undoubtedly have landed Leeds an exceptionally special talent.