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Leeds United Opinion: Bielsa should go all out to sign Nahitan Nandez

According to claims from Italian outlet Tuttomercatoweb, Leeds United are in the race to sign Uruguayan midfielder Nahitan Nandez from Boca Juniors in the summer, although the Peacocks would need to secure promotion to lure a player of his calibre to Elland Road.

The same report claims that Leeds are likely to face competition from Serie A clubs Fiorentina, Sampdoria and Cagliari for the midfield’s signature.

A youth product of famous Uruguayan club Penarol, Nandez rose to prominence with his boyhood club before being snapped up by Argentine giants Boca Juniors.

He hasn’t looked back since then and has established himself as one of South America’s brightest young talents, accumulating 6 goals and 4 assists from 48 appearances for Boca in all competitions.

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Another of Uruguay’s current generation of rising midfield stars comprising of the likes of Lucas Torreira, Giorgian de Arrascaeta, Rodrigo Bentancur and Federico Valverde, Nahitan Nandez earned his ticket to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia as a part of Oscar Tabarez’s 23-man squad and impressed with his energetic displays in the midfield.

The 23-year-old already has 20 senior international caps for Uruguay without playing in Europe, which shows that he is an immensely talented player who is capable of making an impact on the big stage.

Standing at 5ft. 7 inches with a stocky frame, Nandez is not the tallest player on the pitch but he makes up for it with his appreciable upper body strength, drive, determination and tough-tackling nature.

Known for his wonderful range of passing and ability to dictate the tempo of the game, the Uruguayan is essentially a defensive midfielder who excels with his sound positional sense and a good understanding of the game.

Blessed with high levels of energy, Nandez is adept at closing down the spaces in the midfield by pressing the opposition off the ball, often breaking up the play with crucial tackles and interceptions.

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The 23-year-old, though primarily a defensive midfielder, also has the ability to play in a box-to-box role, owing to his uncompromised work-rate.

Deceptive with his pace and quick on the ball, Nandez not only has the ability to improve cohesiveness in the middle of the park but he is also adept at initiating counter-attacks after winning the ball back.

Furthermore, he has a penchant for playing intelligent passes and also boasts of a powerful shot from range.

To put things into perspective, landing a player of his calibre would definitely be a massive coup for Leeds. Nandez is only going to get better with time and it would be fair to say that he is an underrated version of Lucas Torreira.

The Peacocks need to bring in some quality players should they manage to secure promotion to the Premier League and Nandez certainly fits the bill.

Marcelo Bielsa has relied upon Kalvin Phillips to play as the defensive midfielder in his preferred 4-1-4-1 formation, whilst also using Adam Forshaw in that role when Phillips was forced to fill in the gap at the heart of the defence due to injuries to the regular centre-backs.

Both Phillips and Forshaw are robust midfielders who are more than capable of making the step up to the Premier League but someone like Nandez would be an upgrade on Leeds’ existing options.

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Leeds have slipped down from the automatic promotion places after a 1-0 defeat at the hands of rivals Sheffield United but one would expect the sleeping Yorkshire giants to make it back to the top flight after a long absence.

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The Uruguayan’s acquisition would boost Leeds’ chances of surviving in the Premier League significantly and they should not hesitate to go all out in their pursuit of the midfield enforcer in the summer.

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