Bid for Mateusz Klich shows Leeds United are keen to do business

Hadi Sacko
Hadi Sacko
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HADI SACKO is already on board and Pontus Jansson will become a Leeds United player this time next week but the club’s successful bid for Mateusz Klich marks the start of business at Elland Road.

Jansson’s three-year deal was signed at the end of January with a view to the centre-back joining from Torino on July 1 and Leeds exercised an option to sign Sacko permanently on the basis of his loan from Sporting Lisbon last season.

Klich, who was undergoing a medical yesterday after United struck a deal to sign the midfielder from FC Twente, is the first new face to head for Leeds and – barring any late complications – the first result of the recruitment structure introduced by new chairman Andrea Radrizzani.

The 27-year-old – a technical footballer who Leeds rate as a natural ball-player with the ability to pick a pass – fits the mould of the signings the club intend to look for in Radrizzani’s first transfer window as outright owner at Elland Road.

United, with Victor Orta as director of football, are picking over the European market in search of players within a budget which should increase on last season’s without matching the spending power of the wealthier clubs in the Championship. Leeds are ready to pay around £1.5m for Klich, a fee which the club see as good value in light of the levels of interest in him.

Middlesbrough are understood to have made a late enquiry as United were finalising terms with Klich.

Mateusz Klich

Mateusz Klich

Klich was a regular for Twente in the Dutch Eredivisie last season and has been capped 10 times by Poland since 2011 when he made his international debut at the age of 20. Twente finished seventh during the 2016-17 Dutch term but were realistic in anticipating that Klich was likely to attract offers. With a deal in place, he flew to England yesterday morning as his team-mates in Holland began routine medical testing ahead of pre-season training.

In the background, Leeds are continuing to be linked with Huesca number 10 Samuel Saiz and Lugano winger Ezgjan Alioski.

Leeds have not ruled either option out, though Saiz is wanted by Eibar and several other teams, and their identities fit with the strategy at Elland Road. Orta, who was Middlesbrough’s head of recruitment before coming to Leeds, has moved to add Sevilla’s Dani Salas to his scouting team and taken Gaby Ruiz, another former Boro employee, as head of European recruitment. Much attention will be paid to the continent.

Klich’s talent as a youngster and his early progress in Poland earned him a transfer to Wolfsburg in 2011, a club where he failed to make an impression.

United, with Victor Orta as director of football, are picking over the European market in search of players within a budget which should increase on last season’s without matching the spending power of the wealthier clubs in the Championship.

The YEP’s Phil Hay, on leeds United transfer policy.

In 2013 he moved to Holland and PEC Zwolle and won the KNVB Cup at the end of his first season. He spent a season at Kaiserslautern in Germany’s Bundesliga 2 before joining Twente last summer.

Those who followed him speak highly of his touch and say only that he is lacking the ability to be confident of reaching the highest level. Leeds hope that Klich and other players like him will nonetheless knit together and point the club in that direction.

Kalvin Phillips celebrates scoring Leeds' second goal of the game Picture by Simon Hulme

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