Azzedine Ounahi remains a “top target” for Leeds United heading into the final few days of the January transfer window…
What’s the word?
That’s according to journalist and transfer insider Dean Jones, who provided a recent update on the Whites’ pursuit of the Angers SCO midfielder to GIVEMESPORT.
“Ounahi is still a top target for Leeds,” he said.
“From what I hear, they are still trying to persuade Angers to let him out but, at the moment, it’s hard to tell whether it’ll happen.”
If director of football Victor Orta wants to end Leeds’ winter window with a bang, then he ought to get a move for Ounahi over the line.
It’s all good adding some much-needed quality to the backline, bringing in the versatile Max Wober, but it means very little if they aren’t getting the right protection in front.
Without Kalvin Phillips, the Whites perhaps lack that defensive midfield enforcer and whilst Tyler Adams and Marc Roca are regular starters after their switch to Elland Road in the summer, their partnership still leaves the side exposed at times.
Last weekend’s 0-0 draw to Brentford ended a run of four successive games in which the side have leaked two or more goals, and it was also just their third shutout since early October.
Ounahi would offer that solid protection as the 22-year-old averaged 1.3 tackles and one interception per game on the biggest stage, the World Cup. He’s certainly consistent as he has offered his side the same returns domestically this season.
It’s just his performances in Qatar that heightened his qualities best, with former Premier League-winning boss Jose Mourinho lauding him as “absolutely incredible,” whilst scout Jacek Kulig dubbed him a “revelation” for his country.
The talent-spotter’s glowing review of the “box-to-box” machine should also help alleviate fears that he wouldn’t flop after such global hype, suggesting that the 22-year-old is “fast and dynamic,” has “excellent technique, touch and close control” and is defensively reliable.
FBref liken his statistical profile to that of Frenkie de Jong and Gavi, which bodes well for his long-term potential in the game and whilst neither are defensive animals, he is also compared to Matteo Guendouzi and Seko Fofana, who are workhorses in their own right.
Ounahi ranks inside the top 1% of all midfielders across Europe for dribbles completed per 90 over the last year, which highlights just how impressive his ball retention is – an asset that would be beneficial to manager Jesse Marsch as he looks to protect his backline with more reinforcements.
The Angers man may be no Phillips but he’s certainly an unreal player that would add a lot to this Leeds squad. As such, he could be the best bit of business Orta makes this week.