After taking the Premier League by storm last year, Leeds United have been brought back down to earth this season. A sluggish start that saw them go win-less in their first six finally gave way prior to the international break. In Xisco Munoz’s final match at the Watford helm, Leeds secured a vital 1-0 victory over the Hornets.
But while the Whites have struggled to get up to speed, no one is predicting a relegation scrap at Elland Road. While Marcelo Bielsa remains in charge, Leeds are expected to establish themselves as a bona-fide top flight team.
However, the stars that helped earn promotion will eventually be phased out or move on. And per Football Insider, Leeds have fixed their gaze on a potential long-term successor to Luke Ayling.
They claim Ajax right-back Noussair Mazraoui is on the club’s radar. In their words, Leeds are ‘keeping tabs’ on the Moroccan 23-year-old.
Mazraoui has become a regular in the Dutch champions’ side and has developed a penchant for plundering attacking returns this year.
Remarkably, he has notched four goals and two assists from just eight league outings thus far. He has also added a Champions League assist to boot.
Mazraoui is in the final year of his deal in Amsterdam and the article claims he has recently hired super agent Mino Raiola to handle his affairs. That, combined with Leeds’ interest has opened the door to a move in the coming windows.
Leeds would be able to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with the defender come January 1 ahead of a summer free agent move. Alternatively, if other suitors are involved, they could attempt to negotiate a cut-price January transfer.
Either way, Mazraoui’s arrival would provide Leeds with stiff competition for Ayling in the short-term. In the 30-year-old’s absences, Leeds currently rely on midfielders Stuart Dallas or Jamie Shackleton deputising out of position.
In the longer-term, Mazraoui could be a direct replacement. The outlet make sure to point out Ayling turned 30 over the summer and only has 20 months remaining on his current deal.
Arsenal and Serie A side Roma are also believed to be admirers of the 12-times capped Moroccan international.
Bielsa fires Newcastle warning over lavish spending
Meanwhile, Bielsa insists Newcastle United will not be able to go out and merely sign who they want following their new-found wealth – and insists the rules may prevent them spending their way to the top.
When questioned about the Magpies’ potentially lavish spending, Bielsa said: “The situation surrounding the acquisition of Newcastle, the analysis around it has no novelties. Perhaps some positive things, but all the negative things being said have two big ways of being observed.
“First of all: they have already happened and they are happening right now. Secondly: there are rules established to avoid the damaging consequences an operation of this type can have. My opinion has no importance. Talking about something that repeats itself. Negative consequences, rules prevent them.
“What should be analysed, the media illustrate to the public, the administration of the industry to protect it – what should be analysed is what I’ve just said.
“What’s allowed and what’s prevented is actually prevented. If the rules that prevent the negative consequences are being applied.
“You have answers to everything I have said. You have answers not discussable. Any response you have will be linked to the rules that are above all these questions.”
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