Leeds United have been linked with Athletic Bilbao’s experienced midfielder Ander Iturraspe for quite some time now. The 3o-year-old hasn’t played much football for his side this season, and he is going to be available on a free transfer. Leeds United were considered the favourites to land him as Iturraspe had previously played under Marcelo Bielsa when he managed Bilbao.
However, the latest update from El Gol Digital as cited by Wales Online suggests that Iturraspe will only join the Yorkshire outfit if they manage to get promoted to the Premier League. Something like this was always going to be on the cards as players like him often want to play in the top division.
Leeds United were in a strong position for most parts of the season to finish in the top two. However, a late slip in form cost them that chance, and now they must win the playoffs to get to the Premier League. This will also affect their transfer plans drastically for the next season as a promotion to the Premier League comes with a substantial financial windfall.
Iturraspe is set to leave the club in July, and the 30-year-old managed to make only five appearances this season. However, he has been a crucial player for Bilbao over the years, and he has even captained his side. The midfielder came up from Bilbao’s academy and has made over 230 appearances in the La Liga.
What can the Spaniard bring at Elland Road?
The two times Spanish international is predominantly a defensive midfielder who can even play as a central midfielder when required. Like most Spanish players, Iturraspe is technically strong, and he can turn from tight spaces and pick out a pass from deep areas. The midfielder also showcases impressive work rate which should suit Bielsa’s playing style. He lacks a bit in pace, but the Spaniard reads the game well and can put in crucial tackles and interceptions.
On a free transfer, he could be more than a decent signing for the Whites given his overall experience and quality. The club needs to add options in midfield for the next season as Bielsa hasn’t had too much room to manoeuvre or rest his midfielders.
What now for Bielsa?
However, after the recent update, the Whites now need to get to the Premier League to sign a quality player like him. United’s transfer plans could be on hold for a few more weeks as it is yet not clear which division they might play in the next season.
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