Leeds United are interested in a deal to bring Matheus Cunha to Elland Road in the January transfer window.
That’s according to a report by Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, who claim that, due to Atletico Madrid’s perilous financial situation after failing to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League, the LaLiga side must now raise funds via player sales this winter – with the 23-year-old centre-forward one of the likely departees.
The report goes on to state that, after spending €26m (£22.7m) to bring the Brazil international to the Metropolitano Stadium last summer, Diego Simeone’s outfit would now be willing to part with the striker for a figure in the region of €35m (£30.5m) – with both Leeds and Manchester United reported to be interested in the attacker.
While it is true that, in recent weeks, Rodrigo has stepped up in terms of goalscoring in the Leeds attack, with Patrick Bamford looking increasingly unlikely to ever return to his 2020/21 form due to a series of injuries, it would appear an extremely wise move for Orta to bring a new number nine to Elland Road in January.
And, despite the fact that Cunha has struggled in front of goal during his time at Atleti – scoring seven and assisting eight over his 54 appearances for the club – the 23-year-old’s form for his previous outfit, Hertha BSC, would seem to suggest that the Brazilian is a risk worth taking for the Whites this winter.
Indeed, after sealing an €18m (£15.7m) move to the Olympiastadion in January 2020, the £30.5m-rated talent highly impressed over his 11 Bundesliga appearances for Die Alte Dame in his debut campaign, scoring five goals and registering two assists – helping his new side to a respectable tenth place finish in the German top flight.
The £50k-per-week hitman once again caught the eye over his 27 league outings in 2020/21, bagging seven goals, providing five assists and creating six big chances for his teammates, in addition to taking an average of 2.3 shots – 1.3 of which hit the target – making 1.8 key passes and completing 3.0 dribbles – the joint second-most in the division – per game.
These returns saw the player who Bruno Labbadia claimed has “something special” and Michael Preetz suggested has “massive potential” average a simply sensational SofaScore match rating of 7.15, not only ranking him as Hertha’s best performer in the league but also as the joint 26th-best player in the Bundesliga as a whole that season.
As such, with Cunha appearing to be better suited being a big fish in a slightly smaller pond, being versatile enough to play in any position across a front three and still having a great deal of time to develop at just 23 years of age, it would indeed appear as if the Brazilian is worth a punt for Orta this winter – as the Atleti reject could just be a special long-term answer to Leeds’ attacking prayers.