Leeds United are interested in signing Torino right-back Ola Aina in the January transfer window, according to a new transfer rumour that has emerged.
The Lowdown: Aina impresses in Italy
The 25-year-old has become an established player for Torino since joining in 2019, making 13 Serie A starts already this season.
He can play anywhere across the defence or on either wing, per Whoscored, and ranks highly amongst his teammates in both interceptions and successful take-ons, showing his ability on both sides of the ball.
Aina also has 21 caps to his name for Nigeria, having initially represented England during his youth team years, making four appearances for the Under-20s.
It could be that a return to England appeals for the defender, however – he was originally at Chelsea between 2015 and 2019 – and Leeds appear to be contenders to snap him up.
The Latest: Leeds eye up move
Aina’s current deal expires in the summer of 2023, essentially giving the Italian side two more transfer windows to sell him for a decent fee, should they want to.
The Verdict: Strong Ayling replacement
With Luke Ayling turning 31 later this year, it is important that Leeds plan for the long-term and bring in someone who can be his eventual replacement.
Aina could be that man, having already picked up plenty of experience in Italy but also being at an age where he can improve further as a player. Torino manager Ivan Juric has hailed his crossing ability, highlighting what he could bring to the side.
He has averaged one tackle and 1.4 interceptions per game in the league this season – Ayling has averaged 1.6 and 0.9, respectively – and he shouldn’t cost a large amount, with Transfermarkt valuing him at £4.95million.
With his contract expiring in 2023 and Leeds currently boasting plenty of depth on the right flank, perhaps this is a move we could see later in the year or next January, when Ayling will have one more season on the legs while the Italian outfit will have little choice but to offer up a bargain for Victor Orta and Andrea Radrizzani.
In other news, Leeds have been linked with another player – find out who it is here.
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