Phil Hay has confirmed Leeds United are interested in World Cup star Azzedine Ounahi.
Heading into the January transfer window, many Leeds fans may well have wanted to see a new midfielder arrive, and following the departure of Mateusz Klich, that need will have only grown.
It has still been an impressive window for Leeds thus far, having recruited Maximilian Wober and Georginio Rutter, but with Adam Forshaw’s injury woes over recent times, it could be smart to now target a new central midfielder.
This could indeed be where Ounahi comes into the equation, as he is seen as a target for Leeds and Victor Orta. However, his price tag of around £25m could well put the Whites off given how much they’ve already splashed out this month.
Hay has admitted on The Phil Hay Show that Ounahi is a player of interest, but believes his World Cup performances may have priced Leeds out of a move.
He said: “I think they’re still to decide on where they’re going to go with it. No doubt at all that they do like Ounahi at Angers, but his value has changed significantly either side of the World Cup.
Do Leeds need to sign a new midfielder?
“He was a kind of £8-10/12m player prior to the World Cup, you’re now you’re talking £20-25m – which is the kind of premium that you tend to get when you have a particularly good tournament as he did.
“It’s possible. They are active on that front, they have been in touch, they are looking at it. But there will, of course, be the question of funding, I think there is still the option that they sit tight and say look, in this window, we really wanted a left-back, which we got in Wober and we wanted a forward, we got Rutter and broken the club transfer record for that.
“Equally, it might be towards the end of the window that they think to themselves another midfielder would not hurt and they decide to do it.”
TIF Thoughts on interest in Ounahi…
After helping Morocco reach the World Cup semi-finals for the very first time, Ounahi has attracted interest from clubs such as Leeds and Leicester City, but with his price tag a lot more than it was a month ago, that could be putting teams off.
While there have been chants calling for the board to be sacked over the course of this season, Leeds fans can have no complaints about what Orta is doing this month, having smashed the club transfer record and addressed the worrying left-back situation.
If Leeds fans were being picky, then a midfielder could well be the cherry on top of the cake, but it would have to be a financially sensible deal because Leeds don’t want to be hamstrung for windows to come – especially if they find themselves in the Championship come the end of the season.