Leeds United have been dealt a blow in their bid to bring Jose Cifuentes to Elland Road this summer.
That’s according to a report by Colombian media outlet LA10 (via Sport Witness), who claim that both Leeds and Brighton & Hove Albion are pursuing a move for the Los Angeles FC midfielder over what remains of the summer transfer window, with the Seagulls currently thought to be leading the race for the 23-year-old after tabling a €6m (£5m) bid.
However, the report goes on to state that, with both Jesse Marsch – who is believed to be a big admirer of the Ecuador international – and Victor Orta being aware of Brighton’s offer for the midfielder, the expectation is that the Whites will launch a bid to gazump Graham Potters’ in the next few days.
Considering just how impressive Cifuentes has been for LAFC so far this season, it is not difficult to understand why both Leeds and Brighton are keen on a deal to bring the 23-year-old to the Premier League prior to the closure of the summer transfer window next week.
Indeed, over his 25 MLS appearances in 2022, the £9m-rated midfielder has been in remarkable form, scoring seven goals, registering six assists and creating seven big chances for his teammates, in addition to taking an average of 1.9 shots – 0.8 of which have hit the target – making 1.1 key passes and completing 1.6 dribbles per game.
The £6.1k-per-week talent has also caught the eye in metrics more typical of his position, making an average of 1.9 tackles, 0.6 interceptions, 28.4 passes, 1.5 long balls and winning 4.8 duels per fixture.
These returns have seen the eight-cap international who South American football expert Tim Vickery dubbed “one of the best all-round midfielders” average an extremely impressive SofaScore match rating of 7.13 – ranking him as Los Angeles’ third-best player in the current campaign.
As such, considering the sheer amount of ability Cifuentes possesses in both an attacking and defensive capacity, should Orta manage to get a deal in the region of £5m over the line for the Ecuadorean in the coming days – a figure considerably lower than the midfielder’s current market valuation – it would very much appear as if the Spaniard will have sealed an absolute steal for the Whites.