Leeds United mulling defender decision - Joško Gvardiol and Swansea's Ben Cabango among Victor Orta's potential targets

Leeds United are mulling over a decision on whether or not to add another centre-half to their Premier League squad.

By Graham Smyth
Wednesday, 2nd September 2020, 6:44 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd September 2020, 6:50 pm
ON THE LIST - Ben Cabango, seen here winning a header against Leeds United last season, is a player director of football Victor Orta admires. Pic: Getty

The Whites are thought to be prioritising the capture of an attacking player who can add width and also play comfortably in a central position, like Udinese star and current target Rodrigo De Paul, but reports emerged at the weekend that they were also keen on on Joško Gvardiol from Dinamo Zagreb, an aggressive 18-year-old central defender rated at close to €20m.

The Yorkshire Evening Post understands Swansea’s Ben Cabango is another name to have appeared on the list this summer.

The 20-year-old, who has been called up by Ryan Giggs for the Wales squad to face Finland and Bulgaria in the Nations League, joined the Swans at 14 and has made 23 first-team appearances, including 20 Championship starts last season.

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His numbers suggest aerial prowess and physicality, but he is also comfortable on the ball – last season he had 57 touches and 45 passes per 90 minutes.

Liam Cooper [5.1] was the only Leeds player to average more successful aerial duels per 90 than Cabango [3.2].

While Victor Orta is one of the youngster’s admirers, Leeds have not made an approach.

Any defender coming in would be seen as cover, with club captain Cooper and new signing Robin Koch expected to fill the two central defensive starting roles. Cabango was due to link up with Leeds’ forward Tyler Roberts in the Welsh national set-up this week but the latter withdrew as a precautionary measure.

He continues to be involved at Thorp Arch but has missed a small number of sessions as medical staff attempt to manage his fitness and avoid overloading him, given his past injury issues.

Roberts’ name has since been linked with a move to Derby but The YEP understands those reports are wide of the mark and the 21-year-old has impressed in the club’s pre-season preparations.

The attacker has a little under two years remaining on his current contract at Elland Road.