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Go for it Heckingbottom – Leeds United should go out there and sign this 30-year-old Everton target

Josip Ilicic

Why Leeds United Should Target Atalanta’s Josip Ilicic Again

Having first targeted the Slovenian back in 2014, Leeds United could regret not signing Josip Ilicic of Atalanta back then. Premier League club Everton are now keeping tabs on him with a summer move on their minds.

Last week, one of Everton’s scouts was seen in Milan and explained to the press there that he was in the area to discuss transfer options with several clubs this summer. As well as rumours surrounding bids for players from Fiorentina, Milan and Napoli, Everton are believed to be looking to bring Josip Ilicic from Atalanta with the 30-year-old keen on a move to England.

Naturally, the player would prefer the Premier League but if no bid should come forward from the top division, then the Elland Road side could yet be once again in pole position to land the attacking midfield player. Ilicic has played 24 times in Serie A this season (18 starts) and another 5 times in the Europa League with his performances being at a very high level.

During this time Ilicic has netted 11 times and created another 8 goals with his ratings on whoscored.com sky-high at 7.65 when playing down the centre from the beginning.  These sort of figures mark him out as a Premier League player without doubt, though his age may be the stumbling block for some English top-level sides.

After a £8.1million move from Palermo to Fiorentina back in 2013 Ilicic was moved for only £4.95million last summer so despite being under contract for another two years his fee may not be extortionate as his value is perceived to be declining given that he is now 30.

This puts Leeds right in the front rank of teams who could realistically sign him up this summer should he make himself available. Assuming he has another two or three good years in him, then he would be the perfect replacement for Pablo Hernandez.

The central figure in Leeds’ attacking midfield for some time now, the Spanish wizard is out of contract in the summer and despite the really encouraging start made to his Leeds career by Hernandez’s countryman Samu Saiz, he has not been as consistent as expected both in terms of his play and his discipline and so the Yorkshire side may look for more quality.

Ilicic would be a reasonably ambitious, very high-quality acquisition if the club can pull it off and so it’ll be interesting to see whether or not they go for it come June.