By Saikat Mandal

16th Dec, 2022 | 8:40am

Victor Orta should lure Azzedine Ounahi to Leeds United as replacement for Mateusz Klich

It is not the Leeds United way, or better the Victor Orta way, to sign players who have dazzled in the World Cup without properly scouting them. 

But sometimes, you need to make exceptions to the rule, and that’s where Azzedine Ounahi comes into the picture. 

To start with, the Moroccan midfielder has not been linked with a move to Leeds, but he is someone who has caught the attention of none other than Andrea Radrizzani. 

Orta himself has admitted that he has been keeping tabs on him for the last two years, and he has been left “surprised” by the progress shown by the 22-year-old midfielder. 

He told Spanish outlet Marca, as transcribed by Yorkshire Evening Post, “How many messages have I received about him? Even my President has messaged me! ‘Where was this guy? We haven’t seen him!’ Even the President!

“He’s probably been the breakout player, can we say that? I’ve known him for two seasons, this year he’s at Angers, and I’ve been surprised by his physical level.

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“He’s not been like that, I’m not saying he’s been lazy but I’m saying maybe the emotion is different, maybe he feels different playing in the Morocco shirt to the Angers one, where there’s a whole country behind you, your family.”

So, Orta has done basic scouting for him already, and he is amazed by his burgeoning rise. 

After dazzling performances for Morocco in the World Cup, he has suddenly become one of the in-demand midfielders in the world. 

According to 90min, a host of Premier League clubs have been keeping tabs on the midfielder. 

Fabrizio Romano shared on Caughtoffside (15 December) that around eight or nine clubs are circling around the player, and his agents are busy picking calls from potential suitors. 

Leeds could be about to lose their club hero, Mateusz Klich, in January. The Polish midfielder is eyeing a move to the MLS after getting disillusioned over the lack of game time at the club [MLS Soccer (9 December)].

With Adam Forshaw likely to leave as well next summer, Leeds need to replenish those voids. Replacing experience with youth is not always a bad idea, and that’s why adding Ounahi to the ranks makes a lot of sense. 

Most importantly, he is someone who can carry the ball forward, can play on the right, can dribble past players, and has got a brilliant footballing brain. 

Obviously, the priority lies elsewhere for Leeds at the moment, but the potential departure of Klich could open up the possibility of bringing in a new midfielder – Ounahi fits the bill.

In other Leeds United news, the Whites look set to sign the new Jude Bellingham to replace Klich.