Why Leeds United should go all out for Ruslan Malinovskyi
According to The Telegraph, Premier League newcomers Leeds United have identified Atalanta playmaker Ruslan Malinovskyi as an alternative to reported top target Rodrigo de Paul, with Marcelo Bielsa keen to bolster his creative department before the deadline.
Udinese star De Paul has long been linked with a move to Elland Road but the Whites have now turned their attention towards Malinovskyi after being left frustrated in their pursuit of the Argentine attacking midfielder. (h/t Telegraph)
Ruslan Malinovskyi started his professional career with Shakhtar Donetsk in his native Ukraine but he never made a first-team appearance for them. Instead, he spent time on loan at Sevastopol and Zorya Luhansk in his homeland before joining Belgian giants Genk on the back of a successful loan spell.
The 27-year-old went on to make 135 appearances for Genk in all competitions over the course of three-and-a-half seasons, accumulating an impressive tally of 30 goals and 32 assists.
Malinovskyi earned a move to Italian club Atalanta last summer and went on to enjoy an impressive debut season, registering 9 goals and 7 assists in 44 appearances as Gasperini’s side finished third in the Serie A and made it to the quarter-final of the Champions League.
The left-footed attacking midfielder has represented his nation 29 times at the senior level, scoring 5 goals in the process.
Malinovskyi would add more creativity to Leeds’ midfield
Leeds United beat fellow newcomers Fulham 4-3 at Elland Road to bag their first win in the Premier League this season, having lost a seven-goal thriller against champions Liverpool on the opening day of the campaign.
Early signs suggest that the Whites aren’t going to be short of goals this season, with the likes of Patrick Bamford, Jack Harrison, Helder Costa, and Mateusz Klich all making a positive start in the Premier League.
However, concerns remain over 35-year-old playmaker Pablo Hernandez, who was virtually non-existent against Liverpool before missing the clash against Fulham with an injury. Club-record signing Rodrigo Moreno has also endured a torrid start to his life in West Yorkshire, which could be a cause of concern for Bielsa if things do not change soon enough.
Either way, Leeds certainly can’t rely on a single player to deliver the goods in that attacking midfield role week in, week out, considering the taxing schedule of the Premier League and the challenge of having to compete on multiple fronts.
The Whites will surely face a test of their squad depth later on in the campaign and that is exactly why a quality player like Ruslan Malinovskyi could be an excellent addition to the ranks at Elland Road.
The Ukrainian international boasts plenty of top-flight experience in Belgium and Italy, while his exploits in the Champions League last season indicate that the 27-year-old is definitely good enough to make the grade in the Premier League.
As evident from his proven track record of goals and assists, Malinovskyi ticks the box as an upgrade on an ageing player like Hernandez and an unproven youngster like Tyler Roberts in Bielsa’s ranks. In fact, he looks good enough to slot straight into Leeds’ starting XI.
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Ruslan Malinovskyi still has four years remaining on his current deal with Atalanta, so it remains to be seen how much the Serie A club demand to part ways with their prized asset. Nevertheless, he’s a player with a similar profile as Rodrigo de Paul, both in terms of age and attributes, so Leeds should definitely go ahead with their interest in the Ukrainian.