Leeds United given Nicolas Nkoulou transfer boost as Marcelo Bielsa target leaves Torino as free agent
Leeds United have been given a boost to their hopes of signing Nicolas Nkoulou, as Corriere Torino report that Torino will not renew the contract of Marcelo Bielsa’s defensive target.
The Serie A side have decided against offering the centre-half a new deal to continue at the Olympic Grande Torino Stadium for a fifth season and will now begin rebuilding Davide Nicola’s il Toro backline.
Word of Nkoulou’s impending release at the end of his current deal next month will serve as a boost for Bielsa, after Tuttosport reported in February that Leeds had presented a potential move to Elland Road to the Cameroon international’s representatives.
Bielsa was claimed to want Nkoulou signed at all costs, as he sought to be reunited with the 31-year-old following their time together at Marseille that saw the defender establish himself as one of the top centre-backs in Ligue 1.
Leeds were not the only side keen on Nkoulou with the 72-cap enforcer becoming a free agent, just two years on from Torino valuing him at €35million (£30m) amid interest from Roma (Gianluca di Marzio).
Corriere Torino note that Nkoulou suffered a dip in form following a dispute with il Toro over the rumours of interest in his services two years ago, but was continually backed by Nicola to be decisive during crucial stages of the Serie A season and remained committed despite his contract status.
Nkoulou was a leader of the Torino unit and was thought to have a potential suitor in Manchester United (Tuttosport) earlier this year, who are able to offer the 6ft titan his desired return to the Champions League.
Nkoulou would be a very shrewd signing for Leeds as he is a player Bielsa knows well from their time together in France, and the Argentine would be expected to extract every bit of his skill all the while without the Whites having to pay Torino a single penny.
The Cameroonian would also offer Bielsa another leader to fill the shoes set to be vacated by Pablo Hernandez and Gaetano Berardi in the dressing room, but one who could have a much bigger say on the pitch through his determined and tactical approach Bielsa helped establish.
The lack of a transfer fee could see United’s Director of Football Victor Orta and owner Andrea Radrizzani put a much more appealing contract on the table to tempt Nkoulou to Elland Road without the allure of Champions League football, as well.
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