Leeds United remain interested in a deal to bring Jose Cifuentes to Elland Road in the summer transfer window.
That’s according to Andres Ponce, with the Ecuadorian journalist telling Radio Diblu FM (via Sport Witness) that a number of European clubs are interested in the Los Angeles FC midfielder, with Leeds and Brighton & Hove Albion two teams in particular who are believed to be tracking the 23-year-old ahead of a potential swoop.
Ponce’s claim comes following a report by French media outlet Jeunes Footeux earlier this month, who also suggest that the Whites, as well as Leicester City, are keen on a move for the Ecuador international over what remains of the summer transfer window – with the midfielder expected to be available for a figure in the region of £5m.
While the American leagues are not often a resource tapped by Premier League clubs, considering the amount of success Leeds have experienced with Jack Harrison – who spent eight years learning his trade across the pond – Cifuentes could well be the Whites’ next great discovery from the MLS.
Indeed, the £5.85m-rated midfielder has been in eye-catching form over his 22 MLS fixtures so far this season, scoring six goals, providing five assists and creating six big chances for his teammates, in addition to taking an average of 2.0 shots, making 1.1 key passes and completing 1.8 dribbles per game – proving just how much of an asset Cifuentes is in the final third.
The £6.1k-per-week talent has also impressed in metrics more typical of his position, making an average of 2.0 tackles, 0.5 interceptions, 29 passes, 1.5 long balls and winning 5.0 duels per outing – demonstrating that the 23-year-old is not only deadly in attack but also capable of putting in the hard yards and possessing an eye for a pass.
These returns have seen the former CD Universidad Catolica talent who John Thorrington claimed has an “eye for goal” average an extremely impressive SofaScore match rating of 7.10, ranking him as LAFC’s joint third-best performer in the top flight of American football this term.
And, while there may be a question as to whether Cifuentes would be able to achieve the same results upon making the step up to the Premier League, considering just how well Harrison has adapted to English football – scoring 28 goals and registering 23 assists over 167 appearances for the Whites – following his time with New York City FC – where the winger notched 14 goals and 10 assists over 61 fixtures – it is clear that, should a player truly possess the ability, he can indeed be a success in England.
As such, should Orta manage to get a £5m deal over the line for the Ecuadorian sensation this summer, the Spaniard could well have unearthed Leeds’ next Harrison-esque discovery from the MLS – a prospect that is sure to delight everyone involved with the club, not least Jesse Marsch himself.