Leeds United aren’t finished bringing in defensive reinforcements just yet as they target a player that has been likened to former Whites captain Rio Ferdinand…
According to The Athletic’s Phil Hay, Marcelo Bielsa is keen to sign another centre-back having already brought in Robin Koch from Freiburg last week and it appears ex-playoff victor Axel Tuanzebe is someone that’s been linked.
Speaking on the Ornstein and Chapman podcast, Hay said: “I think it’s likely that they will bring somebody else in. [They’ve] been linked with a player in Croatia [Josko Gvardiol]. They’re also keen on Axel Tuanzebe over at Manchester United.”
Right now, it remains to be seen whether that would be a permanent deal or a temporary loan switch to Elland Road. The 22-year-old is currently valued at £7.2m by Transfermarkt.
Tuanzebe very much fits the bill of being a typical Marcelo Bielsa player – he can play in the middle, at full-back and in defensive midfield very much in similar nature to Ben White last season who stepped up in the absence of Kalvin Phillips at times.
As per The Athletic, there has previously been a belief at Old Trafford that the young defender could become the next Ferdinand or Nemanja Vidic, which is high praise indeed and thus opens up further reason as to why he should be signed at all costs.
Some at Elland Road may recognise him from his loan spell at old foes Aston Villa, who clinched promotion via the playoffs two years ago. During that campaign, the 22-year-old averaged 3.9 clearances, 3.2 aerial duels won, 1.1 tackles and 0.9 interceptions per game, via WhoScored.
His form led to Villa boss Dean Smith saying: “He is a terrific guy. He’s got a terrific attitude, that is the thing which will stand him in good stead with his career. I can’t speak highly enough of him.” and that he is a “big prospect”.
United will be without both White and Gaetano Berardi this season, so the signing of Koch isn’t enough and perhaps they can hand Bielsa his own Ferdinand as a nice apt reminder of the last time they were in the big time.
Tuanzebe would be a fantastic addition, whether that’s on loan or permanently.
AND in other news, Marcelo Bielsa must let “exceptional” teen sensation loose at Leeds this season…