Why Nahitan Nandez would be a real coup for Leeds United after promotion
According to claims from Italian outlet Calciomercato, as relayed by Yorkshire Evening Post, Leeds United are among a host of clubs interested in signing Uruguayan international midfielder Nahitan Nandez, who currently plies his trade with Cagliari in the Italian Serie A.
The Whites had been linked with a move for the 23-year-old midfield enforcer earlier in the year when he was at Boca Juniors (h/t Shields Gazette) but failure to secure promotion forced the West Yorkshire giants to pull out of the race.
Nandez, who was one of the key driving forces in Uruguay’s march to the quarter-finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia last summer, joined Cagliari for a modest fee of €18m earlier this year.
The 23-year-old has been instrumental in Cagliari’s unexpected surge up to the top-four in the Serie A standings this season, contributing with a goal and two assists so far.
As per WhoScored, the 31-cap Uruguayan international boasts of a pass completion rate of 76.7%, including an average of 1.1 key passes, 1 long ball, 0.7 crosses, 1.5 tackles and 1.2 dribbles per game in the Serie A this term.
Meanwhile, Leeds United secured all three points with a narrow 1-0 victory away at Reading to finish Round 18 placed second in the standings.
Having fallen agonizingly short in their pursuit of promotion last season, the Whites once again find themselves right up there with the automatic promotion challengers in the Championship.
To put things into perspective, Leeds United will only be able to go forward with a deal for Nahitan Nandez if they manage to secure promotion to the Premier League at the end of the season, given Cagliari’s £30million valuation of the midfielder.
Realistically though, the Whites would have their work cut out in convincing Nandez to complete a move to Elland Road even if they manage to secure promotion, with continental heavyweights like Juventus and Inter Milan lurking around for his services (h/t Caliciomercato).
A potential deal for the Uruguayan enforcer would make a lot of sense, with Leeds United lacking quality cover for Kalvin Phillips at the heart of the midfield.
Plus, with Phillips constantly attracting interest from the Premier League (h/t Express) Leeds can afford to look at Nandez as a viable replacement.
Adam Forshaw is more than a handy option to have in the ranks while Mateusz Klich has been an influential presence under Bielsa, both in terms of breaking up the play and setting up goals (1.9 tackles, 2.2 key passes).
That said, the Uruguayan’s all-round skill set would make him a wonderful fit for Bielsa’s system. At 23, he still has plenty of time to make significant adjustments to his game to suit the demands English football.
With that in mind, Leeds United should line up Nahitan Nandez as one of their top transfer priorities next summer – provided they are able to secure promotion.