Sunday, January 29, 2023

Leeds United Keeping Close Eyes On This Former Chelsea Youngster: Good Move For The Whites?

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Pratyay Maitra
A sports enthusiast in his mid-twenties who reads, breathes, as well as dreams (mostly) about football and attempts to share his views with the fanatics by jotting it down. Prefers to learn through extensive interaction, communication and exploration. So don't be in a quandary and SHOOT.

If a report from TorinoGranata is believed to be true, Serie A outfit Torino are expecting winter bids for Ola Aina amid interest from Leeds United. The former Chelsea defender had a brief loan stint in Premier League with Fulham. However, he might return on permanent terms this time around to bolster the Whites in the defensive third.

The London-born Nigeria international progressed through Chelsea’s academy ranks. He made six senior appearances for his boyhood club during the 2016-17 campaign, and the Blues decided to loan him out next season for regular first-team experience. A successful spell with Hull City in the second tier saw him plying his trade in Italy on a season-long loan and Torino, impressed with his composure down the wide, opted to make the move permanent for £9m.

Meanwhile, Fulham brought him back to the Premier League on loan for the 2020-21 season. Aina featured regularly under Scott Parker, but the Cottagers could not make the deal permanent after failing to retain their top-flight status. Although he has featured more than 100 times for the Italian side, his reluctance in extending the contract beyond the summer of 2023 has alerted his suitors. West Ham United were also keeping close eyes back in the summer, but the Yorkshire giants are favourites to tie him down once the window reopens next month.

Why Leeds United Should Secure His Services

Leeds United have recovered from a dreadful start but are still fighting to avoid a relegation scare. Jesse Marsch is also working on reconstructing the squad by clearing the deadwood and recruiting exciting young talents. Aina, 26, might not fall within the youngster bracket, but he is now at his peak after cementing his place for both club and country.

Predominantly a right-back, Aina looked comfortable from the left throughout his Torino tenure. He has also been deployed as a wing-back, as well as centre-half, which depicts his versatility across the backline. Leeds have Junior Firpo as the only natural left-back who has struggled so far due to form and fitness concerns. Pascal Struijk is adapting as a makeshift, but he is more effective through the middle.

The Whites are well-equipped down the right with Rasmus Kristensen and veteran Luke Ayling challenging each other for the starting spot. Aina should primarily operate as a left fullback, but his flexibility could eventually make him a utility star. Torino would accept a minuscule fee over losing him for nothing six months later and Leeds, therefore, must grab this opportunity in due course of time.

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