According to Messaggero Veneto, as cited by Yorkshire Post, Leeds United are keeping an eye on Ruslan Malinovskyi. The Atalanta playmaker has emerged as the latest target for Marcelo Bielas, who is desperate to sign a back-up for the ageing Pablo Hernandez. Udinese’s Rodrigo de Paul was a prime target, but with the deal looking unlikely to happen, the Whites have now set their sights on Malinovskyi as a potential alternative.
Who Is Ruslan Malinovskyi?
Malivnovskyi’s rapid rise to prominence began at Atalanta, a club he joined last summer in a €13.6 million move from KRC Genk.
Although he was already a star in the Belgian top flight, the Ukrainian international truly made his mark in Italy as he became a key component of Gian Piero Gasperini’s attacking unit.
Malinovskyi made a total of 31 league appearances, scoring eight goals and registering five assists. His productivity was vital especially during the backend of the campaign, when Atalanta’s sizzling run of form helped them finish third, just five points behind Serie A champions Juventus.
What Can He Bring To The Table?
An attacking midfielder by trade, Malinovskyi is a dynamic player who is known for his willingness to move forward and attack the defenders with his direct style of play.
Standing at 1.81m, the Ukrainian has an excellent balance that allows him to swiftly deceive defenders using clever turns or drop of the shoulders. He also has an eye for that defence-threading forward pass, having averaged 1.4 key passes per game last season.
However, what makes him such a sought-after player in Italy is his work-rate. He can cover a lot of ground for his team while his eagerness also aids him when it comes to testing the opposition.
Malinovskyi notably averaged 2.3 shots on goal per game last season, with a majority of them coming from outside the box. In fact, six of his eight goals came from outside the penalty area, thus making him a threat from long-range.
How Does He Fit In At Leeds United?
Malinovskyi could be an ideal alternative to Pablo Hernandez at Leeds United.
The ageing Spaniard is already having issues with injuries early on in the campaign, with his absence creating a massive void in the club’s overall chance creation.
Malinovskyi, in that regard, could operate in his number ten role, alongside Mateusz Klich. Their collective aggression, eagerness and attacking prowess could add another dimension to Leeds United’s first line of press. It should also serve well for the wide attackers like Helder Costa and Jack Harrison.
However, it remains to be seen how much Atalanta demand for the services of their star playmaker this summer as the Whites certainly cannot afford to spend the big bucks after already making some eye-catching moves earlier this summer.
Stat courtesy: Whoscored