MOT View: Leeds should keep close tabs on 23y/o centre-mid situation after reported Jan pursuit
Leeds United were linked with a lot of players in the January transfer window with most of them being strikers as Marcelo Bielsa hunted down Eddie Nketiah’s replacement.
However there were players in other positions who reportedly caught the Whites’ fancy and one of those, who wasn’t talked about too often, was Coventry City midfielder Zain Westbrooke.
Sky Sports Football reported via their official Twitter account early in January that Leeds were keen to sign the 23-year-old, who had been so impressive for Coventry in the first half of the League One season.
Leeds, Cardiff and Bristol City are all showing interest in Coventry City midfielder Zain Westbrooke.
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) January 6, 2020
It was no surprise to see Leeds eyeing up central midfielders like Westbrooke, especially with Bielsa struggling for options in that area of his squad for a lot of the winter.
Adam Forshaw, Tyler Roberts and Pablo Hernandez all had injury issues while Kalvin Phillips sat out three matches through suspension.
Bielsa really could have done with an extra body or two and Westbrooke could have been a decent addition before the end of January.
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Of course, Leeds didn’t sign Westbrooke but once the next transfer window opens, the ex-Brentford player should be someone who Victor Orta reignites the club’s interest in.
Westbrooke could be available for free at the end of June with the Coventry Telegraph reporting that is when his contract expires.
It is understood that the Sky Blues have the option to extend his deal by a further 12 months but with so much uncertainty surrounding the state of football at the moment, that could well be up in the air and something Leeds could take advantage of.
And that even depends on whether Coventry want to extend Westbrooke’s deal.
The 23-year-old has lost his place in the side’s starting line-up since January with him starting just one of eight League One fixtures in February and March.
However Westbrooke’s not lost his place through any fault of his own as Mark Robins rotated his squad around during the fixture congestion and it ended up being that results were better without Westbrooke.
Even when he’s come in every now and then, the Sky Blues’ form hasn’t dripped and the midfielder remains a key player in the Midlands.
In the 32 appearances he’s made across all competitions this season, he’s scored four goals and supplied four assists.
According to stats by WyScout, Westbrooke has completed 79.5 per cent of his passes in all competitions this season, averaging 3.65 passes into the penalty area per 90 minutes of action.
In comparison, Pablo Hernandez’s pass accuracy for Leeds is 76.3 per cent and he averages 5.75 accurate passes into the box per 90 minutes.
Westbrooke’s ball retention is excellent and while he doesn’t manage to make as many passes into attacking areas as Hernandez, it’s not a bad figure for someone who isn’t playing in a Marcelo Bielsa team with players who aren’t as talented.
Westbrooke is a good young player who could come in really handy for Leeds United in the next transfer window.
And if the Whites can snap him up on a free, or at least at a bargain price, it’s a deal worth trying to push forward with due to the player’s situation.
In other Leeds United news, this is how Che Adams has done since Leeds failed to sign him in January.