Why Leeds United should go all out to sign Nahitan Nandez
According to claims from Italian outlet Calciomercato, as relayed by Yorkshire Evening Post, Leeds United are among a host of clubs interested in signing Uruguayan international midfielder Nahitan Nandez, who currently plies his trade with Cagliari in the Italian Serie A.
The Whites had been linked with a move for the 23-year-old midfield enforcer earlier in the year when he was at Boca Juniors (h/t Shields Gazette) but failure to secure promotion meant that the West Yorkshire giants had to pull out of the race to sign the Uruguayan, who eventually joined Cagliari.
Nandez, who was one of the key driving forces in Uruguay’s march to the quarter-finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia last summer, joined Cagliari for a modest fee of €18m earlier this year but his market value has rocketed to around £30m, following his successful breakthrough season in Italy (Calciomercato h/t Yorkshire Evening Post).
The 23-year-old has been instrumental in Cagliari’s unexpected surge up to the top-four in the Serie A standings this season, starting 11 of the club’s 13 league fixtures so far and contributing with a goal and two assists.
As per whoscored, the 31-cap Uruguayan international boasts of a pass completion rate of 76.7%, including an average of 1.1 key passes, 1 long ball, 0.7 crosses, 1.5 tackles and 1.2 dribbles per game in the Serie A this term.
Meanwhile, Leeds United secured all three points with a narrow 1-0 victory away at Reading to finish Round 18 placed second in the standings, just a couple of points behind pace-setters West Brom.
Having fallen agonizingly short in their pursuit of promotion last season, the Whites once again find themselves right up there with the automatic promotion challengers in the Championship, following a bright start to the ongoing campaign.
To put things into perspective, Leeds United will only be able to go forward with a deal for Nahitan Nandez should they manage to secure promotion to the Premier League, given Cagliari’s £30m valuation of the midfielder.
A potential deal for the Uruguayan enforcer would be great, with Leeds United lacking quality cover for Kalvin Phillips at the heart of the midfield.
Adam Forshaw is more than a handy option to have in the ranks while Mateusz Klich has been an influential presence under Bielsa, both in terms of breaking up the play and setting up goals (1.9 tackles, 2.2 key passes).
An up and coming player like Nandez, however, could potentially sort out the club’s midfield on a long-term basis.
The Uruguayan’s all-round skill set makes him a wonderful fit for Bielsa’s system and at 23, he still has plenty of time to make significant adjustments to his game to suit the demands of excelling in English football.
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With that in mind, Leeds United should line up Nahitan Nandez as one of their top transfer priorities next summer should they manage to secure a much-awaited promotion to the Premier League.