By Craig Scott

15th Jan, 2023 | 4:10pm

Azzedine Ounahi benched by Angers with Leeds United in talks to sign Morocco midfield star

Azzedine Ounahi’s time out of the Angers squad has pretty much continued with the Leeds United-linked midfielder finding himself on the bench against Clermont Foot on Sunday.

Ounahi, 22, was one of the best players at the World Cup in Qatar as Morocco became the first African nation to make the semi-finals of the competition.

Angers, however, have been struggling massively without their midfield talisman, who hadn’t made a matchday squad for them in Ligue 1 before Sunday (15 January).

As confirmed by Angers’ official Twitter account ahead of the game against Clermont Foot, Ounahi could only make the bench – a day after Fabrizio Romano reported that Leeds are in talks to sign him.

Romano reported on Saturday (14 January) that the Whites are now deciding on how to proceed in their bid to sign the Morocco international after landing Georginio Rutter in a club-record deal from Hoffenheim.

It is understood that “initial talks” have taken place over Ounahi as Jesse Marsch and Victor Orta continue to add to the Leeds squad before the January transfer window closes.

As well as Rutter, Austrian defender Maxilimian Wober has joined from Red Bull Salzburg this month.

Ounahi was one of the best players at the World Cup in Qatar.

Speaking on ITV Sport, as transcribed by The Boot Room, after Morocco were beaten by France in the semi-finals, Danny Murphy called Ounahi a “sensational player”, adding: “I’m sure there’s a lot of admirers watching his performances in the last two or three games for Morocco.”

Leeds have lost Mateusz Klich to DC United this month, Adam Forshaw has had more injury issues and Sam Greenwood isn’t really the answer in the middle of the park.

Tyler Adams and Marc Roca are doing well in the midfield but there’s definitely room to improve that part of the Leeds squad.

Ounahi could be the answer for Leeds.

He wasn’t for Angers on Sunday, unfortunately for them.

Ounahi came off the bench in the 60th minute but couldn’t stop his side from losing their 11th consecutive Ligue 1 game.

He won’t want to be relegated this season and it seems like he’ll have to leave Western France in order to stop that from definitely happening.

In other Leeds United news, the Whites are now seeking their third signing of the month with a European contract rebel in their sights.