Leeds United are reportedly rivalling two Premier League clubs for Nottingham Forest defender Yohan Benalouane ahead of the summer window, but surely he would be a pretty underwhelming signing?
French outlet Foot Mercato claim the 31-year-old Tunisia international is being eyed by Leeds. The report also claims that Premier League sides West Ham and Cardiff City are keeping tabs on the powerhouse defender.
Leeds are likely to be looking to add a central defender to their squad this summer. Liam Cooper and Pontus Jansson are the club’s only recognised, senior centre-backs.
It has seen Kalvin Phillips, Luke Ayling and Gaetano Berardi play out of position. Aapo Halme has also featured for the senior side, breaking into Marcelo Bielsa’s first team from the Under-23’s on occasion.
Benalouane has impressed since being signed by Martin O’Neill in January from Leicester. He has played 10 times, and instantly became a fan favourite by scoring against bitter rivals Derby in a 1-0 win.
Leeds certainly need a centre-back. But Benalouane’s no-nonsense style would see him struggle to play in a side with Bielsa’s style of football. Indeed, Leeds have become renowned for their possession-based approach.
The Whites play from the back, taking risks by drawing out the opposition and looking to get in behind. Kiko Casilla has been an excellent addition between the sticks in the way Leeds play.
Benalouane is known for his excellent aerial prowess, strength and tackling, but certainly not for his passing and composure on the ball. The former Atalanta defender is very different to Cooper and Jansson.
Leeds need to target a central defender who is comfortable when in possession and has the passing ability of a midfielder. Not one who would rather play the ball long.