Leeds United appear to be closing in on their first signing of the January transfer window after making a breakthrough on Friday. The Whites are now advancing towards an agreement to sign 20-year-old Mateusz Musialowski from Liverpool, six months ahead of the expiry of his contract.
Daniel Farke seems to want attacking reinforcements through the door before Thursday’s deadline as well as defensive additions, and while Musialowski technically fits that bill, he’s yet to play a senior game, so the manager may also want somebody more experienced who can make more of a short-term impact.
That’s where Burnley’s Manuel Benson comes in. On Wednesday, Leeds reportedly held a fresh round of talks with the Clarets as they continue to push for his signature.
Now, a journalist has mapped out the current situation involving Benson, subject to a tug-of-war between two Championship promotion hopefuls as we enter the final days of the winter market.
Leeds and Southampton both table offers for Benson
Speaking to GiveMeSport, journalist Ben Jacobs says that Leeds have made an “attractive offer” to sign Benson. Southampton are currently thought to have a slight advantage in the pursuit of a “top-quality player”, but he very much remains up for grabs.
“By Championship standards he’s obviously a top-quality player, very confident in the league and it’s no real surprise therefore that both Leeds and Southampton are in the race. Some sources say Southampton are slightly ahead of Leeds but I think with nothing done, we’re just going to have to wait and see because it’s two attractive offers on the table for the player.”
Benson has already ripped up the Championship
Benson has already proven beyond doubt that he can be a difference-maker for either Leeds or Southampton as they eye an instant return to the Premier League. When you break it down to a game-by-game level, he was one of the most impactful players in the division last season, as the table below demonstrates.
Goals per 90
Goals + assists per 90
Expected assisted goals per 90
Goals – xG
Benson was also, statistically speaking, the best finisher in the league last year, and while that sounds like an inviting headline, it should be noted that it may be very difficult for him to sustain that level of overperformance, and he could well regress towards the mean. Still, his underlying numbers indicate that he can impact the game as a creator even if he’s not scoring.
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Benson has made just four top-flight appearances for Vincent Kompany this season, totalling a mere 73 minutes, so you’d imagine he’ll very much be pushing for a route out of Turf Moor. There are clear similarities with David Brooks, who’s struggling for minutes at Bournemouth and is also the subject of interest from both Leeds and Southampton. We may well see a situation where one winds up at Elland Road, and the other at St Mary’s.