By George Overhill

30th Dec, 2022 | 7:10am

Very strong chance Leeds United sign Red Bull Salzburg captain Maximilian Wober

There is a “very strong chance” that Leeds United sign defender Maximilian Wober from Red Bull Salzburg, according to Phil Hay.

Fabrizio Romano first reported via Twitter on Tuesday (27 December) that the Whites were preparing to bid for the Austrian Bundesliga side’s captain, who would likely cost around £14million, and it appears that things are moving fast towards successfully securing his signature.

Having previously referred to “firm and credible links” to the Austrian international in his article for The Athletic posted early on Thursday morning, Hay had stepped up his assessment of the situation for his podcast.

He said on The Phil Hay Show on Thursday (29 December, 39min) he said: “It was Fabrizio Romano who reported earlier this week about Max Wober, he’s a left back at RB Salzburg at the moment but he certainly was previously renowned more as a left-sided centre back.

“That looks like a very strong chance of happening, that one. He’s 24, so a good age.

“I think I’d be happier to see an out-and-out left back coming in. That said, perhaps some attention on the centre of defence isn’t a bad thing either.”

Odds on

There is a danger that Leeds United develop an over-reliance on players who have played under Jesse Marsch before, which could become a problem if the American is suddenly no longer in the dug out.

But at this point it should be a relief that help is being sought for the defence in any form considering what an Achilles heel it is proving.

Left-back has been an issue all season, with Pascal Struijk now essentially the full-time starter in light of Junior Firpo’s injuries and form.

But in the meantime the centre-back pairings have developed various problems of their own, with Liam Cooper only marginally improving the situation alongside Robin Koch when he took over from Diego Llorente.

Wober can play in both positions, and while it would surely make more sense to address left-back with a specialist, there is a reasonable argument that central defence is now more of an issue.

Assuming this deal is completed it remains to be seen where Marsch would look to utilise his former player, but with the Whites boss reported to have had direct communication with Wober already [Peter Linden] it would surely have scuppered a move if his plans were accepted.

After a barren January window last season left the squad at risk of relegation until the final day it is at least encouraging that the hierarchy look to be working to address matters this time around.

In other Leeds United news, the Whites have taken a gamble on a future windfall with a surprising contract development.