Good Morning. It's Thursday 26th January, and here are the latest headlines from Elland Road...
Leeds close in on McKennie with €28m bid
International Sky Sports reporter Gianluca Di Marzio has revealed that Leeds have made a €28m (£24.6m) bid for Juve midfielder Weston McKennie, £6m short of their £30m valuation. The Old Lady has crippling debts of over €250, and need to sell players, to stay afloat. Allegations of fraud, and mismanagement have left the Turin based club, with its back to the wall, with little wriggle room for maneuver.
Di Marzio describes the bid as an initial offer, and feels that 'the gap seems to be bridgeable with bonuses'. It is believed that Victor Orta has a good working relationship with his Juventus counterparts, and as McKennie has already agreed to the move, a deal is not too far away.
McKennie or Ounahi
Phil Hay has written an interesting piece this morning on who should replace Mateusz Klich - Azzedine Ounahi or Weston McKennie. Ounahi rose to prominence during last months World Cup. His performances in particular were instrumental in helping Morocco reach the Semi Finals , before being knocked out by France.
The 22 year old is agile, and has excellent dribbling skills and outstanding tactical awareness. He's a no nonsense tackler, despite his slim build and is difficult to disposes. One report describes him as gliding across the pitch like teflon. Following his performances in Qatar, his price tag has doubled to £20m
McKennie's favourite position is at No 8, he's a box to box midfielder with a big engine. He too, goes in hard with his tackles, and will continually nip at the heels of the opposition. He likes to get forward, though he'll also track back and defend when needed. He can play anywhere in midfield. Juve want £30m for the 24 year old. According to Hay...
Ounahi’s value has changed markedly in the past few months, which might explain why Victor Orta, Leeds’ director of football, said in an interview with Spanish media before Christmas that the 22-year-old’s stellar performances for Morocco at the World Cup had been a surprise to many in recruitment circles, not least him. Ounahi was good but it had taken the tournament in Qatar to suggest he was that good.
Whereas Angers were talking about a fee of around £10million in the summer window, the price now would be closer to £20million, if not slightly higher. Faced with that valuation, Leeds have not progressed talks with Angers or Ounahi’s camp to an advanced stage yet.
McKennie, 24, is also someone Leeds have had a speculative eye on over the years. They considered trying to sign him while his star was rising at Schalke in Germany, although Juventus took him in 2020, on loan initially, then as part of a permanent package costing £15million.
McKennie has made 70 Serie A appearances and has further experience in the Champions League, featuring this season in a side who are possession-based and patient in their play, very different in style to Jesse Marsch’s team at Leeds. He can play box-to-box or in a deeper midfield role and, like Ounahi, Leeds see ways in which he would slot into their line-up.
Drameh set for Luton medical
Cody Drameh is set to undergo a medical at Luton Town in the next 24 hours in a bid for first team football. The highly talented right-back has failed to break into Jesse Marsch's starting line up, but recent reports of an attitude change, have at least ensured that the 21 year old has a future at Elland Road.
Leeds will keep a close eye on his development at Kenilworth Road, and have booked sit down talks with him during the Summer regarding his future. Currently, he has 18 months left on his contract. Cardiff and Preston are considering a late push for the England U21 International, but may be too late.