Leeds United are interested in a deal to bring Los Angeles FC talent Jose Cifuentes to Elland Road this summer.
That’s according to a recent report by French media outlet Jeunes Footeux (via Leeds Live), who claim that Victor Orta looks set to join both Leicester City, SS Napoli and an unnamed Ligue 1 side in the race for the 23-year-old central midfielder’s signature in the summer transfer window.
The report goes on to state that, with the Ecuador international’s current contract at the Banc of California Stadium set to expire in the winter of 2023, the Major League Soccer outfit are said to be demanding a figure in the region of £5m in order to part with the former CD Universidad Catolica starlet this summer.
With Leeds United midfielder Mateusz Klich being linked with a move away from Elland Road this summer, should the Poland international go on to move onto pastures new in the coming weeks, Cifuentes could well be something of a perfect replacement for the 32-year-old.
Indeed, the £5.85m-rated talent has been in remarkable form over his 22 MLS appearances for LAFC so far this season, scoring six goals, registering five assists and creating six big chances for his teammates, as well as taking an average of 2.0 shots, making 1.1 key passes and completing 1.8 dribbles per game.
The £6.1k-per-week Ecuadorian 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 fixture.
These returns have seen the 23-year-old who John Thorrington dubbed “dynamic” and claimed has an “eye for goal” average a quite spectacular SofaScore match rating of 7.10, not only ranking him as Steve Cherundolo’s joint third-best performer in the league but also as the joint 46th-best player in the division as a whole.
In comparison, over Klich’s 33 Premier League fixtures in 2021/22, the £2.7m-rated midfielder offered the Whites little in attack, scoring one goal, registering two assists and creating two big chances for his teammates, in addition to taking an average of 1.3 shots, making 0.9 key passes and completing 0.6 dribbles per game.
The £34k-per-week veteran also struggled in metrics more typical of his position, making an average of just 1.4 tackles, 0.3 interceptions, 23.7 passes, 0.8 long balls and winning a mere 2.7 duels per outing.
As such, while the Premier League is undoubtedly a more challenging division than the MLS, it is evident that Cifuentes betters Klich’s output in almost every midfield metric, leading us to believe that, should the 32-year-old indeed secure a move away from Elland road this summer, the £5m LAFC talent would make a perfect replacement for the 40-cap international.