Leeds United are interested in a deal to bring Sekou Mara to Elland Road in the summer transfer window.
That’s according to a report by the Mail on Sunday (via Leeds Live), who claim that Victor Orta has made contact with FC Girondins Bordeaux regarding a deal for the 19-year-old centre-forward – for whom the recently relegated French side are believed to be demanding a figure in the region of €15m (£13m) plus add-ons in order to part with this summer.
The report goes on to state that the likes of Newcastle United, AS Monaco and Olympique Lyonnais are also keeping a very close eye on the situation of the France U20 international ahead of a potential move of their own, while Leeds Live suggest Orta could view Mara as an alternative for both Club Brugge’s Charles De Ketelaere and Paris Saint-Germain’s Arnaud Kalimuendo.
Considering the sheer amount of potential Mara undoubtedly possesses, it is not difficult to understand why Orta would be keen on a deal to bring the 19-year-old to Elland Road ahead of the Whites’ 2022/23 Premier League campaign.
Indeed, over his 26 Ligue 1 appearances last season – only eight of which came as starts – the £2.7m-rated talent highly impressed, scoring six goals – an average of one every 151 minutes – and creating one big chance for his teammates, as well as taking an average of 1.5 shots – 0.7 of which hit the target – making 0.3 key passes and completing 0.4 dribbles per game.
These returns saw the 19-year-old who Jacek Kulig dubbed a “complete” attacker average an eye-catching SofaScore match rating of 6.77, with the youngster being one of the few bright sparks in a campaign that saw Bordeaux finish rock-bottom of the table.
Furthermore, the teenager was also in extremely fine form over his five outings in this summer’s Toulon Tournament, bagging five goals and providing one assist as France U20s went on to lift their 13th title in the youth competition.
As such, while it would be insincere to suggest that Mara is anywhere near the same level as Eric Cantona was – with the Frenchman having scored 29 goals and registered two assists over 101 Ligue 1 fixtures – prior to his £1.35m move to Elland Road back in 1992, there are clear similarities that can be drawn between the duo.
Indeed, should Orta manage to get a deal over the line for Mara this summer, both the 19-year-old and Cantona will have joined the Whites from lesser-known French clubs, while Bordeaux’s reported insistence on including a big sell-on clause in a deal for the 19-year-old would also suggest they believe he is destined for the very top of the European game – something which, unfortunately for Leeds, was also the case for the Manchester United legend.
So, while Mara undoubtedly has a long way to go before he can truly be compared to the 56-year-old who boasts five top-flight winners medals, should the teenager continue his remarkable rise after a move to LS11 this summer, Orta could well have unearthed the Whites’ next Cantona – something that is sure to be an incredibly exciting thought for all involved with the club.