According to French outlet Foot Mercato, Leeds have made a bid for Angers midfielder Azzedine Ounahi, something that could spur Wolves into action as they too have been linked with the player following his World Cup performances.
The price for the Moroccan is thought to be hefty, with previous reports suggesting he may cost €45m (£39m). That may well prove a stumbling block on top of the vast competition for his signature.
Ounahi came to prominence during the World Cup, with the midfielder playing an integral role in Morocco becoming the first African nation to reach the semi-finals at the tournament.
Across seven appearances in Qatar, the 22-year-old sparkled. He didn’t score during the tournament but he did make 0.9 key passes per game while creating one big chance and proving successful with 83% of his dribble attempts, suggesting he was constantly looking at opportunities to create chances for his teammates.
He was dubbed “sensational” by journalist Zach Lowy and he is also statistically similar to another player who was at the World Cup – Spanish wonderkid Gavi.
According to FBref, the youngster is ninth-most similar to Ounahi across Europe, and considering just how talented the 18-year-old is, plus his success at such a young age, it isn’t a bad comparison to have.
This season has seen the two players register similar statistics when it comes to pass success rate (87.6% to 86.2%), shot-creating actions per match (3.80 to 3.52), goal-creating actions (both three), and dribble success rate (52.9% to 50%).
These stats clearly show that both players can provide the central areas with a huge amount of composure, while also having an excellent passing ability that enables their respective sides to circulate the ball well during a match.
As a result, Lopetegui could certainly take Ounahi to the next level if he were to move to Wolves and with Joao Moutinho’s influence in the first team starting to wane, there will be an opportunity to slot straight into the starting XI.
The next few weeks could be very interesting, that’s for sure.