According to Leeds Live, Leeds United are hoping to tie up a deal for Man City academy prospect Ian Poveda before the January transfer deadline, with Marcelo Bielsa eyeing up a few additions to his squad during the mid-season trading period.
With loanees Eddie Nketiah and Jack Clarke returning to Arsenal and Tottenham respectively earlier in the month, the Whites are in the market for some replacements, and Poveda has been earmarked as a potential target by the Championship pace-setters.
As per the report, Director of Football, Victor Orta and Bielsa have scouted the highly-rated 19-year-old winger and believe that he is ready to make the step up to Championship football, having excelled for Man City’s U23 side at the Premier League 2 level over the past two seasons.
Leeds Live also understands that Poveda is on the radar of the West Yorkshire giants as a permanent signing and the winger is expected to complete a permanent transfer to Elland Road in the summer after an initial loan deal.
Born on Southwark, London, to parents of Colombian origin, Poveda had short spells in the academies at Chelsea, Arsenal, Barcelona and Brentford before joining Man City on a scholarship deal back in the summer of 2016.
The talented winger scored 8 times in 22 appearances for the U18s in the U18 Premier League during the 2016-17 season before making the step up to the U23s and subsequently featuring for the U19 side in the UEFA Youth League.
Poveda has since been a regular fixture for the U23s at the Premier League 2 level, accumulating an impressive tally of 4 goals and 7 assists in 31 appearances.
The 19-year-old was handed his senior professional debut by Pep Guardiola when he played the full 90 minutes against Burton Albion in the EFL Cup back in January last year.
The teenager has represented England at all youth levels from U-16 to U-20 but he still remains eligible to play for Colombia at the senior international level due to his South American heritage.
Primarily a left-footed wide player, Poveda is at his best when deployed down the right but he is versatile enough to play on the other side as well.
To put things into perspective, Leeds United are currently pretty well-stocked in their wide attacking options. It is hard to see how Poveda could possibly play a part in the club’s promotion surge in the second half of the campaign, with Helder Costa and Jack Harrison regular fixtures in the playing eleven.
Stuart Dallas might have played as a central midfielder in recent weeks but the Northern Irishman remains a specialist winger by trade. With veteran Pablo Hernandez also in the mix, Poveda is likely to be one for the future at Elland Road.
Clarke’s return to West Yorkshire on loan yielded only 19 minutes of Championship football before he was eventually recalled by Tottenham. The fact that Leeds are looking at Poveda as a replacement for their former academy graduate suggests that they might have him in mind as a long-term investment.
Under the stewardship of Bielsa and Orta, Leeds have made it a priority to scour the market for top-quality young prospects and the 19-year-old could be yet another fantastic addition to the existing pool of burgeoning young talents at Elland Road.
All in all, Leeds United completing a move for Ian Poveda would definitely hand a massive boost to their long-term plans moving forward as Bielsa aims to get the Whites back to the Premier League after a long exile.
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