With Jesse Marsch looking likely to be appointed as the new Leeds United manager within the next 24 hours, attention has already turned to who the 48-year-old manager could look to bring into Elland Road in the summer transfer window.
Indeed, Brenden Aaronson – for whom the Whites reportedly saw a £20m offer rejected in the January transfer window – now appears to be something of a dead cert to follow his former Red Bull Salzburg manager to the Premier League side, while New York City centre-forward Valentin Castellanos – who has also been heavily linked with a switch to Elland Road – is also a player Marsch knows incredibly well, with the American coach having spent two and a half years in charge of New York Red Bulls.
However, while both Aaronson and Castellanos would undoubtedly make fantastic additions to the Leeds United first-team squad, there is one of the American’s former players who it would appear an absolute must for Victor Orta to target this summer – Salzburg right-back Rasmus Kristensen.
With reports in Austria suggesting that Salzburg are already preparing for the departure of Kristensen this summer – with the club having secured the signing of Club Brugge right-back Ignace Van der Brempt as the 24-year-old’s replacement – it would certainly appear as if a deal is there to be done for the Denmark international.
Indeed, the likes of West Ham United, Hertha Berlin, Borussia Dortmund, AS Roma and VfL Wolfsburg are all reported to be interested in the defender, with the Austrian champions believed to be demanding a very affordable figure of €13m (£11m) in order to part with Kristensen.
However, should Marsch go on to complete his proposed switch to Leeds, the 48-year-old manager’s previous relationship with the right-back could well be enough to convince the Dane of a switch to Elland Road.
And, considering just how much success the American achieved with the £11.7m-rated dynamo at Salzburg – with the attack-minded full-back scoring four goals and registering 11 assists over his 64 appearances under the management of Marsch – the signing of the defender would indeed appear to be an extremely astute one for the Whites.
Furthermore, the £14k-per-week Kristensen has proven over his 19 Austrian Bundesliga appearances this term just how well he would suit Marsch’s high-energy and attack-minded brand of football at Leeds, having scored six goals, provided three assists and created four big chances for his teammates, as well as taking an average of 1.6 shots and making 1.3 key passes per game.
The 24-year-old has also impressed at the back, helping Salzburg keep eight clean sheets, in addition to making an average of 1.2 interceptions, 1.4 tackles, 1.2 clearances and winning 5.8 duels – at a success rate of 59% – per fixture.
As such, with Luke Ayling turning 31 years old later this year, it would very much appear as if the signing of a long-term replacement for the Englishman would be a very wise move for Orta to make this summer, with the player who Matthias Jaissle dubbed both an “absolute leader” and a “goal threat” appearing to be the standout candidate.