Leeds United £3m transfer target tipped to leave for surprise destination

Leeds United-linked Falaye Sacko. Leeds United-linked Falaye Sacko.
Leeds United-linked Falaye Sacko. | AFP via Getty Images
Leeds United are in the hunt for some new signings ahead of the upcoming Championship season

Leeds United-linked right-back Falaye Sacko is reportedly heading to an unnamed team in Russia this summer.

According to a report by French news outlet FootMercato, the player will ‘leave’ Montpellier for a new challenge in the Russian Premier League ahead of next season. Leeds could have seen Sacko as someone to bolster their defensive department ahead of the start of the new 2024/25 campaign. He is valued at £3.4million on Transfermarkt.

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They have a vacancy to fill in his position following Archie Gray’s big-money exit to Tottenham Hotspur. In addition, Connor Roberts has returned to Burnley after the end of his loan deal at Elland Road during the second-half of last season and Cody Drameh’s future is up in the air.

Africa Foot have claimed that the Whites are admirers of the full-back along with Premier League side Crystal Palace. However, it appears a switch to England isn’t on the cards for him anytime soon with FK Khimki and several Turkish and Italian teams also said to be in the frame for his signature.

Sacko, who is 29-years-old, is a Mali international with 42 caps under his belt so far in his career. He started out at Djoliba AC and Újpest and had a loan spell in Belgium as a youngster at Sint-Truidense V.V. The Bamako-born man moved over to Portugal in 2016 to join Vitória de Guimarães and initially became a key player for their B team.

Sacko then broke into their first-team and went on to make 96 appearances in all competitions for the Primeira Liga outfit. He also had loan spells away in France at AS Saint-Étienne and Montpellier before the latter landed him permanently last year.

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The defender has since been an important asset for his current side but they are now poised to lose him. Despite links to Leeds, it seems he is Russia-bound. The Whites won’t want to rush into any expensive deals right now and will be carefully waiting for the right targets to emerge. Selling Gray was a blow and it was a shame to see an academy graduate leave so young. However, they have received a huge amount of money for him, some of which can be invested back into the playing squad.

Promotion is the aim again for Farke after the play-off final loss to Southampton at Wembley and they begin the new campaign with a home clash against League One champions Portsmouth which will be seen as a decent opportunity to get three points under their belt on the opening weekend.

Leeds published their retained list back in early June and confirmed that Sam Byram will be staying. He provides useful competition and depth at the back and means the club don’t desperately need a right-back like Sacko.

Meanwhile, Luke Ayling, Jamie Shackleton and Lewis Bate have all left for Middlesbrough, Sheffield United and Stockport County respectively, whilst Ian Poveda was released. Liam Cooper’s situation hangs in the balance right now amid interest from some other second tier outfits.

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