Leeds United have been dealt a huge setback in their pursuit of long-time target Nahitan Nandez…
The Yorkshire outfit have regularly been linked with a move for the Cagliari midfielder, having been mooted during the summer window, as per L’Unione Sarda (via Sport Witness).
Director of football Victor Orta was even said to have flown out to Sardinia to try and strike a deal.
And earlier this month, other reports from Italy suggested that the Whites were ‘leading the race’ to sign the 26-year-old before deadline day on January 31st.
However, Leeds have now been dealt a late blow with just eight days to go as financial heavyweights Newcastle United have entered the race, according to Tuttosport.
After their takeover earlier in the season, the Magpies have huge backing from the Saudi Public Investment Fund, making them fierce competitors to Nandez’s signature, especially as there is a lack of funds at Elland Road.
“They don’t have fortunes to throw around at the moment,” recently claimed transfer insider Dean Jones to GIVEMESPORT this week.
Thus, this latest development will come as a massive blow to Bielsa and Leeds, not at least because they are absolutely desperate to get in reinforcements for the engine room.
They have not signed a midfielder since January 2018, when Adam Forshaw joined from Middlesbrough, which is rather damning in itself, whilst Bielsa will be without the services of star anchorman Kalvin Phillips until March, at the very earliest.
Nandez would be an astute addition and one that is perfect for the Argentine’s tactical system. He certainly fits the atypical profile.
As we’ve previously outlined on Football FanCast, the Uruguay international would be something of a dream signing for Bielsa.
Standing at a diminutive 5 foot 7, the midfield dynamo is a powerful and bustling presence in midfield, leading to him being dubbed a “machine” by Serie A expert Conor Clancy.
This season, he’s averaged 2.3 aerial duels, 1.9 tackles and 1.4 dribbles per league outing (via WhoScored), which suggests he’s not just a ball-winning beast but one that can quickly get up the pitch.
But Leeds simply won’t be able to compete with the Magpies, who splashed a whopping £25m on Chris Wood just to get him in time for their clash at Watford last week and then Elland Road on Saturday afternoon.
It paid off with Eddie Howe’s men securing just their second win of the season. They will be able to offer Cagliari a better fee and the player a better financial package, so it seems as if Bielsa and co may well struggle to land one of their key targets.
On the above evidence, this will surely leave the 66-year-old absolutely livid as his club are no closer to additions this month, especially after previously insisting to sign Nandez.