Leeds United are interested in signing midfielder Okay Yokuslu, who spent the latter half of the 2020/21 season on loan at relegated West Bromwich Albion.
That’s according to the print edition of Spanish newspaper Faro de Vigo (via Sport Witness).
Yokuslu made the temporary move to the Baggies from La Liga outfit Celta Vigo in the winter transfer window and shone even as his team’s bid for survival failed.
The Turkey international made 2.2 interceptions per game, the fifth-highest in the Premier League (via WhoScored) and bettered only by Liam Cooper among Leeds’ squad – Kalvin Phillips, who plays in a similar role, averaged 1.6 interceptions per game. The £31,000-a-week Yokuslu also won 2.6 aerial duels and 2.4 tackles per match, underlining the strength of his defensive game.
West Brom journalist and podcaster Adrian Goldberg hailed the 27-year-old as an ‘excellent footballer’ and marvelled at his ‘forceful’ approach during his spell with the Baggies.
Faro de Vigo stated (via Sport Witness) that there is a healthy market for Yokuslu in the Premier League on the back of his impressive loan spell at The Hawthorns.
Leeds are named as one of the candidates for the 27-year-old’s signature and, perhaps crucially, Celta Vigo will allow the £6.75m-rated midfielder to leave the La Liga club permanently.
Leeds could do with a reliable backup option for Phillips in defensive midfield, as seven of their 15 Premier League losses came in the Englishman’s absence.
Does Yokuslu fit the bill? He can certainly shield a back four, but Phillips also boasts an exceptional passing range, as evidenced by his 4.7 accurate long balls per game last season.
The Turkish midfielder might have to develop that part of his game (he averaged just 1.9 accurate long balls per match), but there’s definite potential for a bargain for Leeds or indeed a Premier League rival.
Whether Yokuslu would accept a backup role to Phillips at Elland Road is another matter, though, as the Englishman has proven too important for Marcelo Bielsa to omit.
In other news, this youngster could be leaving Elland Road on loan.
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