Why Norwich City should beat Leeds to sign Macauley Bonne
According to a report by Yorkshire Evening Post, Championship sides Leeds United, Norwich City, Derby County and Nottingham Forest are all interested in signing Macauley Bonne. The 23-year-old has been prolific since joining Leyton Orient from Colchester United in the summer of 2017. Last season, Bonne hit 22 goals and provided five assists in 44 league games.
This season, he has picked from where he left off in May. Bonne has already scored 16 goals and recorded four assists in just 22 league games. It is this hot streak that has seen the second division’s quartet lining up for Bonne’s signature.
The Zimbabwe international is fresh from signing a new two-year contract in August. This will provide Leyton Orient with an added advantage in any sale negotiations. With Orient topping the National League table, they’ll surely be unwilling to sell their prized asset with a return to the League Two firmly in their sights.
However, a decent bid might be all that is needed to turn Leyton Orient’s heads. Here, we look at which of the two promotion-chasing Championship sides, Leeds United or Norwich City, should sign Bonne.
Norwich are placed at the top of the Championship table after getting 40 points in 20 games. Leeds United are hot on their heels with 39 points so far. Both clubs have scored 30-plus goals past their opponents and are in the automatic qualification spots heading into December.
Leeds have previously signed a striker from Leyton Orient, procuring Sam Dalby at the start of this year. Now, Bonne has previously spent time at Norwich at the U15 level back in 2009. Bonne had a short stint at Carrow Road before signing for Colchester United.
Both Leeds and Norwich require attacking reinforcements to maintain their impressive performances. Any club that signs the 5ft 11in forward will massively boost their promotion chances. Although Leeds play fluid, offensive and possession-based football, a return to Carrow Road looks like the best decision for the striker.
Summer signing Teemu Pukki has been the man for the Canaries, keeping Norwich’s goalscoring wheels rolling. Signing Bonne to offer competition and cover from the bench for the Finnish international would be a masterstroke for Daniel Farke’s side.
With the Canaries expected to offload outcast Nelson Oliveira in January (h/t Birmingham Mail), Bonne could be tasked with easing the goalscoring burdens off Pukki.
The Ipswich-born frontman is likely to settle in more quickly at Norwich, given that he has already spent time there. Macauley Bonne clearly has a decision to make – either stay put at Orient and eye a return to the League Two or move to Norwich City and have a shot at featuring in the Premier League.
And at this point, the joining the Canaries should be a no-brainer for the youngster.
Leeds reviving their interest in this 23-year-old and signing him for £6m would be an absolute coup by Bielsa
Leeds United opinion: Whites should revive interest in Callum O’Dowda
Leeds Unitedhave been handed a massive boost in their pursuit of Bristol City winger Callum O’Dowda ahead of the summer transfer window, with the Times reporting that the 23-year-old Irishman wants a fresh start.
The Times understands that O’Dowda is unlikely to sign a new contract after being frozen out of the first-team at Ashton Gate in the latter stages of the campaign.
The winger hasn’t featured for Bristol City since early March despite having regained fitness from an injury and a number of Championship and Premier League clubs are keen to lure him away from the Robins.
O’Dowda is believed to be unhappy with the kind of treatment he has been given since his refusal to put pen to paper on a new deal and Leeds United might have something to look forward to in their pursuit of the highly-rated 23-year-old.
Back in January, Sky Sports linked the Republic of Ireland international with a move to Elland Road, with manager Marcelo Bielsa interested in securing the services of the versatile winger.
A move failed to materialize despite the player’s contract stand-off with his current club but O’Dowda looks sure to head for the exit door this time around.
The Times understands that Bristol City would be looking to sell Callum O’ Dowda for a fee of around £6million rather than risk losing him for free in a year’s time. The Whites are likely to change their stance in the transfer market after missing out on promotion to the Premier League.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side looked all set for a return to the top-flight for the first time in 15 years but a poor run of form over the Easter period followed by a dramatic 4-2 defeat against Derby Countyin the second leg of the playoff semi-finals ensured that the Yorkshire giants stayed in the Championship for yet another season.
As things stand, the best thing that the Whites can do is put all the disappointment behind them and start right from scratch once again next season, although it’s much easier said than done.
To put things into perspective, Leeds should be looking at some quality wide players in the summer transfer window to add more depth to their options down the flanks.
Man City loanee Jack Harrison is likely to return to his parent club, meaning that Bielsa would have the likes of Jack Clarke, Ezgjan Alioski and Pablo Hernandez as options out wide next season. And that is exactly why someone like Callum O’Dowda can add a lot of value to Leeds’s ranks this summer.
Jack Clarke enjoyed his breakthrough at Elland Road this past season and Leeds should be looking to use him a lot more next term but O’Dowda is a more established player and his playing style should suit Bielsa’s philosophy.
The Argentinian likes his wingers to run with drive, determination and directness to attack the opposition’s full-backs and the Irishman has all those attributes in abundance.
While essentially a left-sided player, O’Dowda is capable of playing on either side of the pitch and also in a central attacking role behind the striker.
His versatility should make him an exciting proposition for Leeds and the 23-year-old’s flair and trickery is likely to add that cutting edge to the team’s attack.
He racked up 4 goals and 4 assists from just 20 starts for Bristol City this season, which is enough evidence of his goalscoring and playmaking abilities as a wide player.
Still only 23, O’Dowda has plenty of time to make significant improvements to his game and working under an experienced manager like Bielsa should do a world of good for his development.
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That said, the Whites should make a renewed attempt to sign the Irishman this summer and they could possibly have a gem on their hands in the years to come should he go on to fulfil his potential.
“All the spies are fading away”, “Let the emotions out”: Some Derby County fans react to epic 4-2 win vs Leeds + Match Report
EFL Playoff Match Report: Leeds United 2-4 Derby County (3-4 aggregate)
Derby County sparked a remarkable comeback in the second leg of the EFL Championship Playoff semi-final at Elland Road, as the Rams beat Leeds United 4-2 on the night and 4-3 on aggregate to set up a showdown with Aston Villa in the finals at Wembley on the 27th of May.
It was advantage Leeds in the first leg at Pride Park last week, with Kemar Roofe putting the Whites 1-0 ahead on aggregate. Derby were completely outplayed in the first leg and they came into the game knowing that they had a huge task on their hands away from home against Marcelo Bielsa’s men.
Derby started off as the brighter of the two teams and the Rams probably did a lot more in the first ten minutes than they had done in the entire ninety minutes at Pride Park last week. The visitors piled on the pressure in the opening stages of the game and threatened to make inroads into the Leeds backline, although neither team created any clear cut chances in the first twenty minutes or so.
The tension between the two teams in such a high-octane clash was bound to rise and the triple yellow card incident involving Pablo Hernandez, Tom Lawrence and Scott Malone was the beginning of an eventful ninety minutes at Elland Park, which finally went Derby’s way.
It was Leeds, however, who had the first breakthrough. Kalvin Phillips’ perfectly flighted free-kick bounced inside the box, eluded all the men and came back off the post before Stuart Dallas turned in the rebound from five yards out to put Leeds 1-0 up on the night and 2-0 on aggregate.
Mateusz Klich and Mason Bennett hit the woodwork over the next 20 minutes or so before Derby finally got themselves back in the tie, thanks to an error of communication between Kiko Casilla and Liam Cooper. Both the went for the ball but neither managed to get it cleared and substitute Jack Marriott made it 1-1 on aggregate.
That goal before halftime was a massive boost to Derby County, with the Rams carrying the momentum into the interval. And Lampard’s men finally managed to get the lead in the tie inside the first minute of the second half when Richard Keogh’s surge forward and Harry Wilson’s slick pass set it up for Mason Mount, who found the net despite stumbling and going to ground.
With the travelling Derby fans at Elland Road making all the noise, the Rams were clearly on the front foot and joy turned to ecstasy when referee Anthony Taylor pointed to the spot for Liam Cooper’s foul on Mason Bennett. Harry Wilson sent Casilla the wrong way and made it 3-1 in favour of the Rams.
Leeds carried a 1-goal advantage coming into the game and the Whites knew that they just needed one goal to get back into the tie. And it was Stuart Dallas who cut inside from the right to slot it past Kelle Roos after Mateusz Klich had played him behind with a fine touch.
With the tie locked 3-3 on aggregate, both the teams went hammer and tongs at each other, but a red card incident involving Gaetano Berardi turned the tie in Derby’s favour. Berardi was sent off for a second bookable offence,as the defender lunged wildly into Bradley Johnson in an attempt to retrieve the ball.
There was more drama to unfold though, with Derby on the front foot and Leeds down to ten men. Harry Wilson hit the post from inside the box but it was a slick passing move that sealed the tie for the Rams and booked their berth in the finals.
Richard Keogh surged forward with pace and picked out Mason Mount, who charged at the Leeds backline and popped it back to the Irishman. Keogh showed good awareness to pick out the run of Jack Marriott, who sparked off wild celebrations amongst the Derby fans with a lovely dinked finish over Casilla to make it 4-3 on aggregate with just 5 minutes to go.
Scott Malone saw a red card in injury time and Izzy Brown blazed high and wide from the resultant free-kick but the Rams, and Frank Lampard, in particular, have every reason to be overjoyed with his wonderful comeback.
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While Derby are just one game away from making a return to the Premier League for the first time since 2007-08, it will be difficult for Leeds to put this massive disappointment behind them, as the wait for promotion at Elland Road continues for yet another year.
Here’s how some of the joyous Derby fans reacted to this incredible victory
Incredible scenes! 😲🐏
Congrats to Frank Lampard and our partner club @dcfcofficial. You’re off to Wembley!! 💪👏
Thanks for all your support this season and good luck in the final 🙌#LEEDER #Derby #Rams #playoffs pic.twitter.com/FMZEzZcwMw
— Prostate Cancer UK (@ProstateUK) May 15, 2019
Wow, now that was AMAZING I was there, the day we lost at Leeds away (2-0) and they sang “you’ll f*ck it up” well Leeds who’s f*cking it up now? GET IN DERBY!!!! #rams #LEEDER #LUFCvDCFC #bhafc pic.twitter.com/QXIEJeXfsX
— Nathan Berry (@njcb03) May 15, 2019
Brilliantly refereed by Anthony Taylor. Never stopped moving to get himself great views. Made big calls unhesitatingly and unerringly. Quality under unimaginable pressure. #LEEDER
— Mick Dennis (@MickDennisReal) May 15, 2019
Now all of the spies, are fading away,
Try not to worry, you’ll go up some day.
You cheated at home,
You cheated away.
You were top of the league and you threw it away.
Stop spying Bielsa. Stop spying Bielsa.#LEEDER
— Macca 🌚 (@Macca_ISZ) May 15, 2019
Leeds United signing this 20-year-old La Liga star for free would be a massive move in boosting attacking firepower
Leeds United Opinion: Why Rafa Mujica will be a good signing for the Whites
Leeds United have agreed on a deal to sign Barcelona B forward Rafa Mujica this summer on a free transfer, report Marca.
Formerly of Las Palmas, the 20-year-old joined the youth ranks of Barcelona back in 2015, but has not yet made the breakthrough into the senior squad at the Camp Nou. He has notched seven goals and one assist in 33 games over the course of the campaign.
But Rafa Mujica is out contract this summer and the young forward will hope to become a first-team player with Leeds United in the coming years.
After challenging for automatic promotion all season, Leeds just missed out on a place in the top two and went into the playoffs without a win in their previous four matches. However, they defeated Derby County 1-0 in the first leg of their play-off semi-final at Pride Park on Saturday evening, thanks to a second-half strike from top scorer Kemar Roofe.
The Whites are now under immense pressure to get past Derby and into the playoff finals, where they’ll face Aston Villa. Irrespective of what happens in the next two weeks, the summer transfer window will open shortly and Marcelo Bielsa needs to also keep one eye on it.
It appears as if the Yorkshire giants have been already working away behind the scenes to thrash out some deals, Rafa Mujica expect to join Leeds on a free transfer this summer.
Mujica is predominantly a striker but is capable of playing on either wing. The Spaniard appears to be a very exciting prospect on paper and clearly has top pedigree having come through the La Masia academy. He is just 20 years old and has a massive potential to fulfil in the coming years.
Leeds do need firepower up front, as Kemar Roofe, Patrick Bamford, Jake Clarke and Tyler Roberts are not enough especially if they play Premier League football next season. Mujica has to be one of the signings not the only signing in terms of attacking players for the Whites.
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The 20-year-old fits the profile of player Bielsa will love to work with at Elland Road, but he’ll definitely need time to adapt to the demands of English football.
What’s the most exciting thing about Mujica is his versatility, as that’ll give Bielsa options in the attacking department. His numbers in the Spanish second division aren’t great for a forward, but there’s a genuine belief he can it out at Leeds under the guidance of Bielsa.
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