Transfer

Leeds want to sign aerial monster with 10 international goals

In addition to pursuing a right-back, with a move for Burnley’s Connor Roberts said to be practically done, Leeds United and Daniel Farke are also going after a centre-half on transfer deadline day. The Whites have been pushing for Ben Godfrey, but they saw their first loan offer for the Englishman rejected, and that may have led them to consider some alternatives.



Alongside Sheffield United, Leeds made an approach for Bournemouth’s Chris Mepham, but they were told that he’s unavailable for transfer during this window. Elsewhere, the two Yorkshire rivals have been showing interest in Nottingham Forest’s Joe Worrall, but it’s unclear if the Premier League side’s £6m valuation will put them off.

And now, both teams are in the frame for a third central defensive target, with one looking to stave off relegation and the other battling for promotion from the Championship.

Leeds and Sheffield Utd now set sights on Souttar

According to Football Insider, Leeds are interested in signing Harry Souttar in a “last-gasp” move. Farke has been keen to strengthen the heart of his defence throughout the window and views Souttar as an acceptable plan-b after the failed Godfrey bid.

Chris Wilder and Sheffield United have already made contact with Leicester over a possible transfer, but they can now expect to face competition from Leeds as the deadline nears.

Aerial monster Souttar beat Van Dijk

It was only a year ago that Leicester were paying an initial £15m, potentially rising to £20m with add-ons, to sign Souttar from Stoke City. He would make 12 Premier League appearances as they unsuccessfully tried to stave off relegation, but it appears that Enzo Maresca, appointed as the manager in the summer, isn’t especially keen on the Australian.

He’s only started one of the Foxes’ 29 second-tier games so far, watching on from the sidelines for 14 full matches. With an 11-point cushion to the play-off places, Leicester don’t need to worry too much about strengthening the sides below them.

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When assessing Souttar, who’d previously played more than 60 games in the Championship at Stoke, the attribute that stands out is definitely his aerial ability. As you can see in the table below, he won a higher proportion of his headed battles (a whopping 86.4%) than any other player who contested a meaningful number in last season’s Premier League. No wonder pundit Pat Nevin says it’s as if he has a “magnet in his head”.

Rank

Player

Success rate

1

Harry Souttar

86.4

2

Kurt Zouma

80.9

3

Ibrahima Konate

76.2

4

Virgil van Dijk

74.2

5

Steve Cook

73.0

Souttar is currently away at the Asian Cup with Australia, and scored in their 4-0 win over Indonesia in Tuesday’s round of 16 tie to reach double figures for his country in just 21 caps. The Socceroos play South Korea in the quarterfinals on Friday, but Leeds and Sheffield United appear confident that won’t affect his availability.

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