Leeds United have expressed their interest in signing Salernitana centre-back Jean-Claude Billong, according to TeamTalk.
The football news website claims that Crystal Palace, West Ham, West Brom, Norwich and Watford are also keen on the 26-year-old defender, who is up for sale this month as Italian Serie B Salernitana look to offload him.
It is understood that Billong is one of the highest earners at Salernitana but any deal to offload him will be complex because he’s currently halfway through a two-year loan from Serie A side Benevento.
TeamTalk explains that any deal that sees Billong move on this summer will need to be approved by both Salernitana and Benevento.
We really do not see why Leeds – or any Premier League club – would want Billong after the season he’s had in Italy.
The French centre-back made just 11 Serie B appearances in the first year of his loan spell at Salernitana.
Although he missed a good chunk of the first half of the campaign with an ankle injury, he struggled to hold down a regular spot in the squad of a side that finished 10th in Italy’s second-tier.
TeamTalk’s report says that Billong “has been likened to former QPR and Blackburn star Chris Samba” while he’s also said to be a “dominating” defender who scouts feel is well-suited to the game in England.
But being well-suited to the Premier League doesn’t just mean you have to be 6ft 4in of pure muscle – it’s such a lazy cliche.
Last season, according to stats by WyScout, the former New York Red Bulls defender averaged 9.03 recoveries, 3.7 interceptions and 2.08 aerial duels per 90 minutes of football.
In comparison, Ben White averaged 12.15 recoveries, 3.76 interceptions and 4.92 aerial duels per 90 minutes of game-time for Leeds.
The Championship is a tougher league than Serie B and it’s worth adding that Salernitana’s league win percentage with Billong was 27 per cent. Without him, their league win percentage was 40 per cent.
Salernitana were better off without Billong in their side last season and Leeds will be better off without him too.
In other Leeds United news, a Leeds-linked player missed his side’s friendly match on Thursday.