Former Leeds United striker Noel Whelan believes the Whites will continue in their attempts to sign Rangers winger Ryan Kent this summer.
The Lowdown: Leeds show Kent interest
Kent has been a key player for Steven Gerrard’s Rangers side, scoring eight goals and registering seven assists in last season’s title-winning campaign, not to mention being hailed as ‘sensational’ by his manager.
The Latest: Whelan makes bold call
While the Englishman is yet to agree a move to Leeds, Whelan, who recently found new employment at Elland Road helping in the community, told Football Insider that his club will persist in their interest in the wide man:
“This has been rumbling on now for what, three years?
“Bielsa, Leeds, they’re not going anywhere. They still want this man to be playing for Leeds United. He’s had three more years of experience under his belt at Rangers.
“He’s been under a good manager and in a successful team, which will only bring a bit more confidence to the player. He’ll have that experience you need in big games and playing in front of fans.
“He is a special player, there’s no doubt about that. That’s the reason why Steven Gerrard went out there to bring him in. He wasn’t just picking Ryan Kent because he was available.
“He picked him because he was going to improve the team that he was managing. No different to Marcelo Bielsa. We’ve got great wingers there.
“I do believe there’s a place up (for grabs) because I don’t think Helder Costa has been doing it for me. I do believe we need another winger there to just test the waters of the other players. See how they react by putting that competition directly in their faces.
“He could be one that can play a number 10, out on the wings, in the central midfield area. A player that’s versatile. That versatility that he brings to the team could put him in a number of positions in that forward line.”
The Verdict: Ideal squad player
Kent may still be unproven in the Premier League, which does make a potential move risky, but he could be an ideal squad addition ahead of next season.
Raphinha and Jack Harrison could do with more competition and a chance to rest and rotate, in order to keep them on their toes, and the Rangers man’s pace, directness and work rate could all suit Bielsa’s style.
While Kent is most known for his on-the-ball ability, he still managed to average 0.8 tackles and 0.6 interceptions per game in the Scottish Premiership last season, showing he also has the ability to press from the front in Bielsa’s system.
In other news, one Leeds player is reportedly close to leaving the club. Find out who it is here.
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