Leeds United Are Interested In This Veteran Striker: A Smart Choice By Marcelo Bielsa?

Girona's Uruguayan forward Cristhian Stuani celebrates after scoring a penalty during the Spanish league football match between Girona and Club Atletico de Madrid at the Montilivi stadium in Girona on December 2, 2018. (Photo by Josep LAGO / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images)

According to El Observador, Leeds United are interested in signing Cristhian Stuani. The Girona FC attacker has emerged as a potential option for Marcelo Bielsa as he looks to bolster his offensive unit this summer. Stuani reportedly considers Leeds as an attractive destination and will consider offers after Girona are done fighting for promotion in the ongoing playoffs.

Stuani’s late rise to prominence

Stuani was always regarded as a talented centre-forward throughout his career. But while his early exploits mostly came in second division leagues, the Uruguayan is beginning to make an impact at the highest level of football. In fact, he has improved with age and especially since his €2.5 million move to Girona in 2017, the striker has been one of the most consistent players in Spain.

Indeed, Stuani has netted a whopping 70 goals in just over 100 competitive matches for Catalonians. He notably scored 40 goals in the two La Liga seasons before helping Girona finish fifth in Segunda Division, netting 29 goals in 36 appearances. His presence in the final third could be crucial as the club looks for promotion via the promotion playoffs.

What can he bring to the table?

As his excellent scoring statistics would suggest, Stuani is a goal-poacher. He is blessed with tremendous finishing skills that complement his ability to find spaces and be at the right place at the right time.

However, the 33-year-old can also make full use of his 1.84m frame to make himself a threat in the air. In fact, 16 of his 40 La Liga goals for Girona FC have come from headers, with the attacker notably attempting a whopping 7.6 and 7.9 aerial duels per game during the two seasons.

Leeds United are interested in signing Cristhian Stuani - Stuani has enjoyed a lot of success at Girona FC.
Girona’s Uruguayan forward Cristhian Stuani scores a penalty during the Spanish league football match between Girona and Club Atletico de Madrid at the Montilivi stadium in Girona on December 2, 2018. (Photo by Josep LAGO / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images)

Aside from his aerial prowess, Stuani is extremely versatile, having mostly featured as an attacking midfielder early on in his career. He can also operate on either side of the flanks.

Should Leeds United go after Stuani?

Given the one-dimensional nature of Patrick Bamford, Leeds United must sign a new centre-forward this summer, and none fits the bill better than Stuani, whose balanced characteristics could help the Whites improve on their weaknesses in the final third.

Indeed, the Uruguayan international can offer the much-needed aerial presence in the number nine role, something Bielsa’s side have lacked throughout the Championship campaign. Also, his work-ethic, positional sense and understanding of the game should all tune in well with the club’s philosophy, thus allowing him to thrive at Elland Road.

More importantly, Stuani has experience of playing in England, having previously joined Middlesbrough in 2015. Although the striker failed to make an impact in the Premier League, he is a much different player now, someone who is capable of helping Leeds United reach new heights.

Stat courtesy: Whoscored

Jack O’Brien

A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.