By George Overhill

23rd Jan, 2023 | 9:10am

Leeds United face £35million Azzedine Ounahi price tag as Angers milk it

Angers are “milking” Azzedine Ounahi’s “amazing” World Cup to leave Leeds United facing a price tag of up to £35million, according to Ben Jacobs.

After bringing in Red Bull Salzburg captain Max Wober to address the defensive issues, and adding club-record Georginio Rutter in attack, there is the potential for the Whites to knock the January transfer window out of the park by adding a high-quality midfielder and the Moroccan international looks to be the primary option.

Mike McGrath reported in The Telegraph on 11 January that a late-window move for the long-term target was still a possibility, with Angers looking for at least £25million after Ounahi’s run to the semi-finals in Qatar, but Jacobs believes it is going to be significantly higher than that.

The CBS journalist told Give Me Sport: “We know that Jesse Marsch likes the player but I think the sense I’ve got with Ounahi all along is that he’s going to take his time in making a decision.

Agreeing on a fee with Angers will take some time because they’re milking the amazing World Cup that he had.

“I think that it’s going to take far more than the £20m/£25m that clubs have sort of circled and offered so far, it could be £30m/£35m perhaps. Angers are trying to maximise the value as much as they can and get the best possible and inflated price.

“I don’t think that Leeds will necessarily want to move on that, now that they have brought in a couple of others. They’ve already spent a bit of money and they certainly won’t want to get sucked into a bidding war.”

Off the table

Considering the improvement that Wober brought to the centre of the defence in the 0-0 draw with Brentford on Sunday (22 January) before Rutter has even seen any action, bringing in Ounahi on top would mark a pretty spectacular winter window.

Given how it went by last season with no new arrivals it would make fans far more confident of being equipped for a relegation battle than 12 months ago.

But with Leeds United having reportedly already made the highest offer of the teams after the 22-year-old and the player unreceptive [L’Equipe, 8 January] with the price continuing the climb, the chances don’t look great.

It may reach the final days of the window with the likes of Napoli having still not upped their offer, forcing Angers to become more realistic in their pricing.

And if his options appear to be dwindling Ounahi may reconsider a move to the Premier League at Elland Road, but after breaking the club’s transfer record by splashing out over £30million on Rutter the chances of it happening again so soon after seem low.

If it is one that drops back into an affordable range on deadline day and the player is open to the move then there won’t be many fans complaining should the deal be done, but on current evidence there would be no point in the Whites hierarchy chasing a deal if there are any viable alternatives.

In other Leeds United news, Marsch has been predicted for the sack live on talkSPORT.