Leeds United raiding rivals for this 22-year-old star would provide cover for

Why Andy Rinomhota could be the ideal cover for Phillips at Leeds United

According to claims from Football insider, as cited by The Reading Chronicle, Leeds United have been linked with a move for Reading starlet Andy Rinomhota ahead of the mid-season trading period in January. 

The West Yorkshire giants have had scouts in attendance at the Madejski Stadium to keep a close eye on the performances of the 22-year-old central midfielder, who signed a new three-year contract with the Royals until 2022 earlier in the year back in February (Football Insider h/t Reading Chronicle).

As per the report, Rinomhota, who has caught the eye of the club’s scouting team, has been earmarked as a potential target for Leeds United in the January transfer window as well as next summer. 

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Andy Rinomhota won Reading’s Player of the Season award during his breakthrough season last term (Getty Images)

Rinomhota has featured in 16 out of Reading’s 19 fixtures in the Championship so far this season, starting 13 games and coming off the bench on a further three occasions.

Despite drawing a complete blank in the goal and assist columns, the 22-year-old has attracted admiring glances for his impressive all-round game.

Born in Leeds to parents of Zimbabwean descent, Rinomhota started his footballing education at Hampshire-based outfit AFC Portchester before earning a move to Reading back in the summer of 2015. 

Rinomhota impressed with his displays across various age-group levels and also starred for the U23s during the 2016-17 season prior to his promotion to the first-team setup ahead of the 2017-18 campaign. 

The 22-year-old clocked up as many as 24 starts over the course of an impressive breakthrough campaign last term, making a smooth transition from the academy ranks to the Championship while also bagging Reading’s 2018-19 Player of the Season award. 

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Rinomhota has started 13 games for Reading in the Championship this season (Getty Images)

Reading have failed to impress so far this season but Rinomhota has progressed by leaps and bounds to establish himself as one of the mainstays of the club’s midfield. 

As per whoscored, the 22-year-old has averaged 33.4 passes per game at an accuracy rate of 84.1%, including 1.3 long balls, 2.1 tackles, 0.9 interceptions, 1 dribble and 0.5 key passes per game.

To put things into perspective, Leeds United currently do not need reinforcements in central midfield but Andy Rinomhota is a player in the right age bracket to add some quality depth to the club’s midfield unit. 

Kalvin Phillips has been a standout performer in that deep midfield role under the stewardship of Marcelo Bielsa but it is imperative to say that the Whites do not have much depth in that position beyond their star academy graduate. 

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Rinomhota has emerged as a transfer target for Championship promotion-hopefuls Leeds United (Getty Images)

That was pretty evident when the manager was forced to use Mateusz Klich, who is more of a playmaker than a holding midfielder, in a more defensive role in the 2-0 victory over Huddersfield Town

Adam Forshaw, who is versatile enough to slot into both defensive and box-to-box roles, continues to be a valuable asset to the club but he hasn’t featured in the Championship since September 28 due to a hip injury. 

To that end, Leeds completing a swoop for Reading’s Andy Rinomhota would certainly make a lot of sense.

The 22-year-old has already shown that he has the all-round game, as well as the technical abilities, to slot seamlessly into Bielsa’s system and his arrival would certainly add a lot more depth and quality to the Whites’ existing midfield options.

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Credits: Getty Images

Verdict

Given that he is under contract at Reading until 2022, Leeds could have their work cut out in negotiating a deal for the midfielder.

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However, it would be a real coup for the Whites if it comes off and it is easy to see how he could possibly improve the current squad at Elland Road.

All in all, Leeds United’s interest in Andy Rinomhota certainly strikes the right chords.

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Written by Sayan Chatterjee

A Premier League enthusiast and an avid follower of the beautiful game... keen eye for tactical battles and love to discuss the financial aspects of football...other hobbies include reading, listening to music, playing FIFA on PlayStation, traveling, etc.
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