Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Leeds eyeing move for Alfonso Pedraza

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Leeds United are reportedly interested in signing Villarreal defender Alfonso Pedraza, with the Spaniard having previously enjoyed a brief stint at Elland Road.

What’s the word?

According to Football Espana, the Yorkshire side – as well as Serie A outfit Inter Milan – are keen on signing the 26-year-old in the New Year, with the Whites already having a connection with the player after signing him on loan back in 2017.

The report suggests that the Premier League side could well receive encouragement in their bid to land the full-back as the player is said to be open to a departure, while the LaLiga club could also be willing to sanction a sale.

A new left-back does appear to be on the agenda for sporting director Victor Orta, with recent reports having also claimed that Philadephia Union gem Kai Wagner is also a target for the club.

Marsch’s own Perisic

Despite having hardly pulled up any trees during his brief time in England – scoring once in just 14 appearances – Pedraza has certainly gone on to impress since then, with his total tally for the Yellow Submarine now standing at 11 goals and 18 assists in 147 games across all fronts.

The 6-foot ace was particularly impressive under Unai Emery last term after scoring four goals and registering five assists in 28 league outings from his defensive berth, having also been part of the side that reached the last four of the Champions League.

The £65k-per-week maestro – who has chipped in with three goal involvements in 12 appearances for the Yellow Submarine this season – will no doubt have caught the eye of Orta and co as a result of his breathtaking speed, having previously been compared to Wales icon Gareth Bale for that running power in the past.

The highly-rated “machine” – as described by Simon Harrison – would surely add notable quality to Jesse Marsch’s ranks at Elland Road, with that emphasised by the fact that the former Real Betis loanee shares a number of stylistic and statistical similarities to Tottenham Hotspur’s Ivan Perisic, as per FBref.

That likeness is evidenced by the fact that not only do the two men typically operate on the left flank, but they are also similar in their desire to impact play in the final third, with Pedraza ranking in the top 2% in Europe among those in his position for touches in the attacking penalty area, while Perisic ranks in the top 1% in that regard.

That attacking threat is also illustrated by the fact that the later man ranks in the top 10% for non-penalty goals, while the Villarreal star ranks in the top 3% for the same metric, proving himself something of a weapon from open play.

Such a comparison is noteworthy as a result of the impact that the Spurs man has made in the Premier League in recent months, with the veteran Croatian having settled swiftly in Antonio Conte’s side, recording an impressive tally of seven assists in just 22 games for the club to date.

To think that Leeds could land their own version of the 33-year-old in the form of Pedraza is no doubt an intriguing prospect for Orta and co, with the hope being that the former Spain U21 international can seal a return to Elland Road in the near future.



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