Leeds United would be gambling by signing Mergim Berisha, former Whites goalkeeper Paul Robinson says.
Turkish journalist Omer Celikbasli told MOT Leeds News on Wednesday that Jesse Marsch’s side had offered £1.7m for Berisha, the Fenerbache striker.
‘Negotiations continue’ over the potential signing, with the Turkish Super Lig outfit holding out for a fee closer to £4.2million.
Berisha, 24, has experience of working with Marsch at Red Bull Salzburg, much like Brenden Aaronson and Rasmus Kristensen, who have already made the move this summer.
While the signing may seem ‘low-risk’ on paper because of the small fee, he’s worried by Berisha’s goalscoring record in what is a ‘poor league’ and fears that the German may not address the club’s needs.
“It’s a low-risk signing but it’s a chance,” he said.
“It’s seven goals in 30 games in a poor league, the Turkish league is nowhere near as strong as the Premier League, it’s not a huge return. He’s not exactly pulling up trees there, if you’re going over there and want to bring in a player from there, you’ll want him to have a big impact in the Turkish league, getting a bag full of goals.
“It’s a low-risk signing because it’s less than £5million, but it’s a chance you’re taking on a player that hasn’t done it yet. It’s high risk performance-wise.”
Are Robinson’s concerns justified?
To a degree, yes. The Turkish league ranks down in 20th in the UEFA coefficient, while the Premier League is top of the pile.
However, there are some important points of context to raise too. First off, Berisha only played 1,513 minutes – the equivalent of 16.8 matches – last season as he dealt with injuries and battled to nail down a spot.
Second, he notched 35 direct goal involvements in 56 appearances for Salzburg, who play in the eighth-best league in Europe.
And his overall record of 75 goals and 39 assists in 199 games makes him look like a reasonable option.
He’s a player who’s capable of the spectacular in more ways than one, netting a ‘scissor-kick volley‘ against Antwerp in last season’s Europa League, but also hitting the post three times in succession for Germany’s Under-21s at last summer’s European Championships.
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