By Craig Scott

14th Mar, 2021 | 11:20am

Phil Hay: Leeds-linked Koopmeiners ready for move

Leeds United-linked midfielder Teun Koopmeiners is ready for a move away from AZ Alkmaar, according to The Athletic journalist Phil Hay.

Telegraph journalist Mike McGrath reported in September that the 23-year-old Netherlands international was someone who Leeds wanted to sign with Marcelo Bielsa eager to add to his midfield options.

Writing on The Athletic website, Hay has recently reported that Leeds “are thinking seriously about recruiting cover” for Kalvin Phillips and defensive midfielder Koopmeiners fits the bill.

Speaking about Koopmeiners, Hay wrote: “The indications from Holland are that the 23-year-old, a Dutch international, is ready for a move and his agent, Bart Baving, told Italian media last month that ‘the time has come for the next move’ but Koopmeiners will not be cheap and several Italian clubs are monitoring him.”

Midfield additions needed

Leeds have dropped off in recent weeks and that is surely down to the number of midfield injury issues they have had.

While the Whites have performed well since winning promotion to the Premier League, there are still players in this squad who are not good enough for the direction the club is heading in and others, who are good enough for the top-flight, have been overburdened with work.

Koopmeiners can help alleviate that massively.

The one-time Holland international has scored a staggering 16 goals and supplied seven assists in 35 appearances across all competitions for AZ this season.

VVV-Venlo’s Georgios Giakoumakis [23] is the only player with more Eredivisie goals than Koopmeiners this term [14], while eight of the AZ captain’s goals have come from the penalty spot.

However, left-footed Koopmeiners wouldn’t be signed to be a goalscorer – although his prowess from the penalty spot would come in handy. He’d be signed to sit in the midfield, protect the back-four and dictate play in possession as Phillips does.

Would he be interested in coming in and playing as a second-choice holding midfielder? That’s very unlikely but Koopmeiners is also adept at playing central roles and on the left-hand side of a back-three.

There would be ways to fit him and Phillips into the same side but do Leeds really want to spend big money on someone who wouldn’t be playing in his strongest position week in, week out?

That’s debatable.

In other Leeds United news, Jermaine Jenas has made a claim about Patrick Bamford after he went off injured on Saturday against Chelsea.