By George Overhill

19th Dec, 2022 | 4:40pm

Leeds United target Sasa Lukic could be set for European swap deal as Whites chase Azzedine Ounahi

Jose Mourinho could be set to take advantage of Leeds United focusing on Azzedine Ounahi with a swap deal for Sasa Lukic, according to AS Roma Live.

The Whites have been on the trail of the Torino midfielder who is also a target for the Special One for some time, but are now reportedly “moving with some vehemence” for Moroccan international Ounahi.

The club’s new-found interest in the 22-year-old, who starred in his country’s run to the semi-finals at the World Cup, may leave the door open for business to be worked out between Roma and Torino on Lukic.

According to AS Roma Live the interest from the Stadio Olympico is echoed by that coming the other way for Albanian Marash Kumbulla.

Indeed Forza Roma reported on 23 November that the Whites and the Giallorossi were at the front of the queue for 26-year-old Lukic, but if Leeds United are distracted by Ounahi that could leave the coast clear for Roma and Mourinho to take advantage.

Targets

If the club is now taken by Ounahi they will need to be very sure that his performances in Qatar are a sign that he is ready to make a sustained step up rather than just a purple patch in the limelight.

There interest in Lukic has been around for some time, so it would be a risk to abandon that for the flavour of the month unless the recruitment department is sure he is an upgrade.

With the likes of Adam Forshaw and Mateusz Klich apparently on the way out sooner or later there is space in the midfield department for new arrivals.

While both Ounahi and Lukic went to the World Cup, clearly the Morocan came out on top by reaching the semis, and at 22 fits the profile of recent signings like Tyler Adams.

But he has just a season and a half playing in Ligue 1, while at four years his senior Lukic has less sell-on value, but greater experience in Serie A and more of an influence on the scoresheet, which might suggest he is the more useful acquisition.

If United need a midfielder and feel that one of these two is the answer, the worst thing they could do is take their eye off Lukic, let Mourinho into the driving seat, and then realise that Ounahi isn’t the right man after all.

In other Leeds United news, interest in a Manchester United player would rightly leave one exit-bound Elland Road man angry.