Like many Leeds fans, watching the 5-1 defeat to Manchester United at the weekend came with one glaring issue: midfield. United playmaker Paul Pogba had the entire pitch to himself, and spent much of the afternoon spraying passes around. His four assists on the day showed one thing: Leeds need more competition in the middle of the park. As the team was run off the pitch in Manchester, then, reports of another battle starting – this time on the transfer front – might have some Leeds fans excited again.
The arrival of a new midfield ball-winner has been on the cards for a while. The player in question is Uruguay international Nahitan Nandez. The 25-year-old surprisingly joined Cagliari from Boca Juniors, and now wants to try out his game at a higher level. A transfer request was made this summer, and an expected move to Internazionale has fallen through. As such, a move to England now appears most likely.
The names being linked include Leeds, Tottenham Hotspur, and West Ham United. The three clubs are expected to duel it out to try and land the signature of one of the best midfielders in Italian football. A regular for his national side, Nandez carries the same kind of aggression that one would expect of a Uruguay international. Playing under the hugely demanding Washington Tabarez at national level, too, Nandez will know all about playing for a coach with high demands.
Will Leeds win the race of Nahitan Nandez?
At the moment, the press in Italy suggest that West Ham are furthest behind in the queue. Leeds offer a continental game style and the chance to play for one of the best managers in South America. Spurs offer the chance to live in London, play for a top quality coach in Nuno Espirito Santo, and the chance to play European football. Add in what has already been a highly exciting summer for Spurs, and it would appear that Lees would have a fight on their hands to win the race here.
A combative ball-winner with solid technical attributes, Nandez is seen as the perfect choice for a Bielsa midfield. He would offer the team extra coverage as forwards move into advanced positions. He offers more legs in the middle, someone who can reliably win the battle and play it to a teammate, and an aggressive passing range.
Two goals and two assists does not sound like much, but Nandez is not in the side for goals. He is a player who could easily slot into the high movement, rotation, and energy of the Leeds team. With the need for more reliable bodies who can play at the highest level, then, Nandez is seen as the ideal package for this team.
If the team miss out, they will be missing out on a player who is ready-made to be part of a Bielsa XI. Despite competition, though, it is believed his presence at the club could be the decision-maker for Nandez.