According to a report in Daily Star, Championship side Leeds United are in the hunt to land Ander Iturraspe from Athletic Bilbao on a free transfer.
The 30-year-old is out of contract this summer and is not keen to sign a new deal with the club, where he has played football at all age levels, having arrived there at the age of 10. He has played only four times this season, partly due to the injury issues. (h/t Daily Star)
Marcelo Bielsa has worked with the midfield stalwart before, when he was in charge of the Spanish side. The manager is already planning for the upcoming season, as the Whites remain on course to get promoted to the Premier League (h/t Daily Star).
They are currently second in the table behind Norwich City by two points. The best thing is that the team is looking in good form after a stuttering period in January and February.
Regardless of where they play their football next season, here’s why Leeds should sign Ander Iturraspe in the summer:
The Spaniard is a defensive midfielder who loves to play the role of a destroyer in front of the centre-backs. He is experienced enough to know the things he needs to do.
Talking about last season’s stats, because injury issues have hindered his playing time this year, the numbers look good. In 30 league appearances, he made tackles at a rate of 1.4 per game, meaning the 30-year-old is not shy of putting a foot in to deny the opposition attackers.
Iturraspe possesses a good passing accuracy, which was close to 83% last season. His overall game depends on how he is able to protect the back-line, and allow the creative players to take the centre-stage in possession. (whoscored)
Even though Leeds have Kalvin Phillips for the defensive midfield role, getting the Athletic Bilbao stalwart would be an icing on the cake.
Bielsa has deployed Phillips at centre-back in a few games and also as a floating defensive midfielder at times. In those situations, having Iturraspe would be beneficial for the manager.
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Leeds United are on course to play Premier League football next season. Plying their trade in the top-flight brings a different level of pressure and requires an enhanced skill level in terms of mental strength.
Hence, signing an experienced midfielder like Ander Iturraspe would help a young team in dealing with various situations. Having worked Bielsa before, the Spaniard can take less time to get accustomed to what the manager’s philosophy is.
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