Leeds United could forget all about Nahitan Nandez by signing Manchester City midfielder Yangel Herrera this summer.
What’s the story?
Reports in recent weeks and months had suggested that Cagliari star Nandez is someone who Marcelo Bielsa was very keen on bringing to Elland Road, but indications are that he is now close to joining fellow Serie A side Inter instead after they opened talks.
It has now been claimed that City would be willing to sell Herrera, who is valued at £20m, and that Leeds and West Ham have already shown interest in signing him this summer.
Far better than Klich
While missing out on Nandez may frustrate Bielsa, in Herrera they could get someone who can soften the blow.
Speaking to talkSPORT, Venezuelan football expert Carlos Ponte said: “In Venezuela, we’ve never had as complete a footballer Yangel – elegant in possession, tall, very physically imposing, good at bringing the ball out, good in the air, the right mentality, and a good head on his shoulders.
“He has a lot of energy and stamina, is great at providing cover and a true team player. He’s good at bringing the ball out with a certain degree of elegance.”
That “awareness” and being able to spot danger is clearly seen in his defensive numbers last season in La Liga – as per Sofascore, he averaged almost two tackles and one interception per game, while he’s an absolute monster in the 50/50s, winning a mind-boggling 8.2 duels per match in La Liga at a success rate of 51%.
To put that into context, Mateusz Klich averaged just 1.1 tackles and 0.3 interceptions per match in the Premier League, while he only won 2.4 duels pre game at a success rate of 36%.
Like an on-song Klich, Herrera is more than capable of doing damage the other way, being a real threat in the opposition box with the timing of his runs and willingness to take shots on goal – the City man netted eight times last year compared to the Leeds ace’s total of just four.
Speaking to Football Transfer Tavern, La Liga expert Euan McTear raved about the Venezuelan’s performances last season while on loan at Spanish side Granada, saying: “He’s been key to their qualification for Europa League and then the run to the quarter-finals.
“He’s like a classic box-to-box midfielder, a bit of a throwback in that way. His first instinct is to try and dribble, to pass it forward, charging forward he took so many shots this season, he would get in the box, he scored quite a few goals early on when they were lacking strikers and attacking midfielders and that’s the thing too, he’s been really versatile.”
It’s exactly why Leeds could sign a real upgrade on their Polish ace, in the process forgetting all about missing out on Nandez this summer.