Leeds United have been linked with former Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Iturraspe for quite some time now. And the latest report (by Spanish media outlet El Desmarque) suggests that Iturraspe would be open to a move to Leeds.
This would be a major coup for the Whites. Marcelo Bielsa rates Iturraspe highly and the defensive midfielder would bring more than 300 appearances at the top level of Spanish football to the table.
Alongside Kalvin Phillips (or as a replacement for him), the 30-year-old could add legs, tenacity, composure and experience to Leeds’ midfield ranks.
But Bielsa’s men face a major battle for his services. Spanish top-flight club Getafe are now in the race for the free agent, according to AS, and this will be an obstacle for Leeds.
Getafe finished fifth in the La Liga table last season and can offer Iturraspe European football. The twice-capped Spain international would also be staying in his home country, where he would not have to adjust to a new country, culture, language, etc.
This report by AS adds that an unnamed Israeli club are also interested, alongside PAOK Salonika. While Leeds will back themselves to beat both of these teams to Iturraspe, there is an interesting challenge awaiting him in Greece.
PAOK won the Greek Super League last season and are preparing for a title defence, as well as a Champions League campaign. In this respect, Leeds cannot compete with what PAOK can offer.
But perhaps the Bielsa effect will work to Leeds’ favour. The Yorkshire outfit will be hoping that Iturraspe takes a risk on his career rather than taking the safe option with a move to Getafe.