Leeds United could be taking another look at a Serie A wing-back they were linked with prior to the summer after a report revealed they could pull off a free transfer coup.
During the summer transfer window, Leeds strengthened at right-back with the addition of Rasmus Kristensen from RB Salzburg. However, they failed to invest in the opposite side of their defence, which many felt was an area of need.
Junior Firpo has not lived up to expectations at left-back, so that is a position they might revisit in 2023. Somewhat surprisingly, though, links are still cropping up with right-backs.
Despite the arrival of Kristensen, there may be some logic behind it. Luke Ayling will be out of contract at the end of the season and at the age of 31 his time at Elland Road might be done.
Furthermore, young prospect Cody Drameh has been tipped to secure an exit to continue his progression elsewhere.
Therefore, Leeds might need a new competitor for Kristensen, and the answer may come from Serie A.
According to Tuttosport, Leeds remain interested in former Fulham loanee, Ola Aina. They were linked with him before the summer until Kristensen became their chosen target.
Now, though, Aina could be back on their radar. His contract with Torino is due to expire at the end of the season, so Leeds would be able to tie him down to a pre-contract agreement in January in view of the summer.
Torino are working to renew Aina’s contract after he made 11 appearances for them in the first part of the season. That said, they are aware of interest from England for the former Chelsea product.
Leeds United could give Ola Aina latest Premier League chance
Now 26 years old, the Nigeria international could be ready for another chance in the Premier League. Leeds could give him the relevant platform.
Usefully, Aina is capable of playing in either full-back position. In fact, despite being right-footed, he has played more at left-back so far this season – and the same went for last term too.
Hence, Jesse Marsch might be able to find a way of getting Kristensen and Aina into the same starting lineup if the transfer does happen.
Aina has actually played in Yorkshire before, having spent time on loan at Hull City from Chelsea in the 2017-18 season. Perhaps Leeds could be his next destination.
The Whites would have to be sure of their plans for Aina before going for him. Marsch needs to work out whether he sees him as a left-back or a right-back.
If it is the former, the move might be more appealing for all concerned. If it is the latter, the Leeds boss might need to be persuasive to convince Aina he will get a good amount of gametime.
But it is not exactly as if he has been starting week in and week out across his four seasons with Torino. Therefore, even as a rotation option, he might like the idea of playing for Leeds.
And without a transfer cost attached, he could be worth bringing in at Elland Road.
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