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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Leeds: Imagine Morten Hjulmand & Ounahi

Leeds United‘s search for a midfielder has been long-documented, however, the exact role that player is expected to feature in remains somewhat cloudy.

This confusion stems from the varying profiles of those being touted with moves, looking to Azzedine Ounahi as the most obvious example as a top target.

Do Leeds need two more midfielders?

Yes

No

No

The Moroccan has been linked with a move to Elland Road for the bulk of January and boasts a varied skillset that focuses on a masterful transition.

He showcases this through his 1.3 tackles and one interception pair game which he pairs with 1.1 key passes too (via Sofascore). This, whilst ranking in the top 1% for dribbles completed when compared to other midfielders in Europe paint the picture of a maestro who can break up the play, burst forward with the ball at feet and then slide a teammate through on goal.

It is clear why his qualities are desired, so to also reportedly be after Morten Hjulmand is somewhat confusing. 

Battling with Southampton for the Denmark international, who value him at £8.5m, the Lecce stopper is a far more defensive asset and would not represent an alternative should the Ounahi deal fall through.

The 23-year-old is averaging 2.5 tackles and 2.1 interceptions per game, which he pairs with 5.3 total duels won too, via Sofascore.

Such is his play style, he was lauded as “tough” by Danish journalist Henrik Fallesen.

The only explanation for their interest in two midfielders with vastly differing skill sets is that Jesse Marsch is keen on both, and seeks to put the two together to form a fine partnership despite the presence of Tyler Adams and Marc Roca.

In all honesty, this seems like a remarkable piece of business on paper should both transfers be completed, given how Ounahi excelled next to a midfield destroyer at the World Cup in Sofyan Amrabat.



Can you get 100% on this Leeds World Cup transfer quiz?

Question 1. After starring for England at the 2002 World Cup, how much did Leeds sell Rio Ferdinand to Manchester United for?




Hjulmand could more than fill that role, allowing his potential teammate added security with which he can showcase his more creative assets.

With the former occupying a deeper and more calming role, the all-action nature of the 22-year-old would give Leeds a remarkable foundation from which to build their pressing system.

Victor Orta must in fact be looking for multiple options rather than multiple alternatives, indicating a potential grandstand finish to this transfer window for the Yorkshire outfit.



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