View: Salih Ozcan could be perfect option for Leeds United
Leeds United should be aiming to sign a midfielder in the January transfer window.
According to Phil Hay of The Athletic, the Whites have the resources to add players in that position, it can be a defensive or an attacking midfielder.
Kalvin Phillips is reportedly out till March, but Hay has suggested that the England international is recovering quickly, and way ahead of schedule.
One of the players “which came up” for Leeds as a transfer suggestion this month is Salih Ozcan. The defensive midfielder plays for FC Koln in the German Bundesliga.
Although he did sign a new contract in June, he is in a position where he could be a free agent in 18 months’ time.
It’s difficult to find a like for like replacement for Phillips but Ozcan can do the job. He is effective in one-to-one marking and is very good at ball recoveries and interceptions.
While the 24-year-old can also operate as a box-to-box midfielder, making forward key passes are not his biggest strength.
Unlike Phillips, who is an excellent passer of the ball, Ozcan offers something different. He is a safety belt around the back four. He is the defensive shield in the 4-2-3-1 Koln system.
With 1.8 interceptions (as per Whoscored), he anticipates the danger early and has a good understanding of the game. He was excellent against Mainz 05, and arguably produced his best performance against Vfb Stuttgart.
If he joins Leeds, Bielsa could use Adam Forshaw in a more attacking position where he would still be very effective.
The most important thing is he is a player who is in good physical shape. He shouldn’t take much time in adjusting to Bielsa’s system, at least in terms of fitness.
Considering his age, quality, and contract situation he could be a perfect January signing.
In other Leeds United news, Phil Hay has shared if the Whites are in the ‘advanced’ stages of any January signings