By Sam Stone

17th Jan, 2023 | 8:42pm

Napoli chief makes 'optimistic' claim as Leeds United hold talks to land Azzedine Ounahi

Napoli director Cristiano Giuntoli is “optimistic” the Serie A side can seal a deal for Leeds United target Azzedine Ounahi.

Sky Sports Transfer Centre [17 January, 02:50pm] revealed Leeds’ latest round of talks with Angers had not progressed any further.

Napoli are also understood to be interested in the 22-year-old and Giuntoli has since broken the silence over the Serie A club’s move for the Moroccon World Cup star.

“Leeds in the race too? We are optimistic for Ounahi, he’s a good player but we’re focused on the games now,” said Giuntoli (Sportsmediaset, 17 January [quoted by Fabrizio Romano]).

Tough one

This is looking like a tough move for Leeds to pull off at the moment. Talks with Angers have not progressed well and it remains to be seen just how far the Whites are willing to go when it comes to the Moroccon international.

After the departure of Mateusz Klich, Jesse Marsch could be keen to add another midfielder to his ranks and Ounahi would be a more dynamic and forward-thinking option for the American to call upon.

His performances in Qatar has potentially seen his value skyrocket and after the signing of Georginio Rutter, there’s a chance the Yorkshire side may well be slightly stretched financially.

There may need to be one or two exits at Elland Road before the board can begin to contemplate another big-money addition in the January window.

It’s been a promising first half of the month for Leeds, but there are one or two areas of Marsch’s squad which could be fine-tuned heading into the second half of the campaign.

In other Leeds United news, a journalist has shared if Leeds are set for a financial gain if Raphinha quits Barcelona in the January window amid links with Arsenal.