Why Leeds United signing Nahitan Nandez would bolster their midfield
The 24-year-old has been on the radar of fellow Serie A club Napoli this summer but the Whites have made contact with Cagliari over a potential deal for the Uruguayan international, who still has four years left to run on his current contract. (Tuttomercatoweb h/t Leeds Live)
Nahitan Nandez started his professional career with Penarol in his native Uruguay. He made 87 appearances in all competitions over the course of five seasons at his boyhood club and was a part of the squad that won the 2015-16 Uruguayan Primera Division title.
The 24-year-old established himself as one of the best central midfielders in South America following his move to Boca Juniors, where he impressed in the Copa Libertadores and also won the Argentine Primera Division crown in 2017-18.
Nandez’s impressive form in Argentina earned him a move to Europe with Italian club Cagliari in 2019. The Uruguayan star went on to enjoy a successful debut season in the Serie A, registering 2 goals and 3 assists in 35 appearances last term.
A full international for Uruguay since 2015, Nandez has accumulated 31 caps, representing his nation at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and also in 2019 Copa America.
Nandez would add more depth to Leeds’ midfield
Mateusz Klich has made a stunning start to life in the Premier League, scoring against Liverpool and Fulham in the opening weeks. The Pole was one of the key cogs in Marcelo Bielsa’s midfield engine as the Whites won the Championship title last term. The fact that he has made a positive impression in the top-flight certainly comes a massive boost to the club’s hopes of survival.
However, it is worth pointing out that Leeds currently do not have a quality alternative to Klich in the No.8 role in Bielsa’s preferred 4-1-4-1 system. Stuart Dallas, who is essentially a winger by trade, occasionally played as a central midfielder in the second-tier last season but using makeshift options in such crucial positions might not be a good idea in the Premier League.
Leeds, of course, have promising youngsters like Mateusz Bogusz, Robbie Gotts and Jamie Shackleton competing for places in the midfield. But it goes without saying that they need more experienced cover to cope with the rigours of a 38-game season, not to mention the challenge of participating in the cup competitions.
Also, it’s hard to envisage 35-year-old Pablo Hernandez playing week in, week out, in the top-flight, especially considering that he’s already had his fair share of struggles with injuries over the past 12 months.
Nahitan Nandez, to that end, presents a lucrative option for Leeds United in the summer window, having proven his worth as a quality central midfielder in the Italian Serie A. The Uruguayan boasts the versatility to switch effectively between a holding role and a box-to-box role in the middle of the park, thus potentially handing a boost to Bielsa’s squad dynamics.
The 24-year-old’s presence in the ranks at Elland Road would reduce the burden on Klich, while also ensuring healthy competition for places to facilitate squad rotation. As evident from his heat map in the Serie A last season, Nandez is capable of covering a lot of ground which enables him to contribute equally to both the defence and the attack. Such qualities should definitely make him a perfect fit for Bielsa’s high-pressing system.
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With close to 200 club career appearances under his belt, Nahitan Nandez looks more than capable of adding more depth, quality and experience to Leeds United’s midfield. The Uruguayan still has his best years ahead of him at 24, so he’s definitely worth a significant outlay in the market as far as the Whites are concerned. With the deadline just a few hours away, the Whites should push for this player.