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Leeds: Victor Orta interested in José Cifuentes

Leeds United are interested in a deal to bring José Cifuentes to Elland Road in the January transfer window.

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Transfer Focus

That’s according to Ecuadorean media outlet Deportes Sin Limites (via Sport Witness), who claim that Victor Orta has the Los Angeles FC central midfielder in his sights ahead of the winter market, while fellow Ecuadorean outlet Machdeportes also report that the Whites are interested in making a move for the 23-year-old in January.

Furthermore, an earlier report by Bolovaip suggested that, despite the Ecuador international’s current contract being set to expire in December of 2023, Cifuentes is eager to secure a move away from the MLS side this winter – with Brighton & Hove Albion and Real Sociedad also reported to be keeping a close eye on the midfielder.

The next Caicedo

Considering just how impressive Cifuentes was for LAFC last time out, coupled with Mateusz Klich looking increasingly likely to move onto pastures new this January, the argument that Orta must do everything in his power to land the 23-year-old this winter is an extremely easy one to make.

Indeed, over his 36 MLS appearances last season, the £10.5m-rated talent was in sensational form going forwards, scoring seven goals, registering six assists and creating 11 big chances for his teammates, in addition to taking an average of 1.8 shots, making 1.3 key passes and completing 1.5 dribbles – at a success rate of 58% – per game.

The £5.8k-per-week Ecuadorian also impressed in metrics more typical of his position, making an average of 1.8 tackles, 0.5 interceptions and winning 4.7 duels per match, as well as enjoying an average of 49.4 touches, playing 1.6 long balls and completing 27.9 total passes – at a success rate of 80% – per outing.

These returns saw the 23-year-old average a simply astonishing Sofascore match rating of 7.04, ranking him as Steve Cherundolo’s sixth-best performer in the division last time out, with the midfielder playing a crucial role in LAFC lifting the 2022 MLS Cup.

Furthermore, South American football expert Tim Vickery clearly believes that Cifuentes is ready for the step up to European football, with the journalist stating of the midfielder on talkSPORT:

“He was the beating heart of that [Ecuador U20] side and I think he’s a terrific midfielder. He’s strong, he’s got quality, he’s got a good engine – he’s one of the best all-round midfielders, potentially, that I’ve seen come out of South America in a while.

“Get him, sign him on! Ecuadorians are only just beginning to forge careers in Europe. Sometimes the adaptation for them isn’t easy… but Cifuentes strikes the ball well, moves across the field, strong in the tackle, strong on the ball – I like him a lot.”

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And, considering just how well Brighton’s £4.5m signing of fellow Ecuadorian midfielder Moisés Caicedo has worked out for the Seagulls – with the 21-year-old having been in electric form in the Premier League this season, so much so that Manchester United and Chelsea are considering a £70m move for the youngster – there is a well-trodden path for Cifuentes to follow to Leeds.

Indeed, considering just how impressive a midfielder the 23-year-old has more than proven himself to be in America, it would appear extremely wise for Orta to do all he can to win the race for Cifuentes this winter, as the LAFC starlet could well become the top-flight’s next Caicedo-esque Ecuadorian talent – something that is sure to be an extremely exciting prospect for the Whites.