Leeds United: Whites still in hunt for £4m striker Mbakogu

Paul Heckingbottom
Paul Heckingbottom
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Leeds United are continuing to weigh up a move for Carpi’s Jerry Mbakogu after the Nigerian striker secured Italian citizenship and the right to move to English football.

Mbakogu was formally declared an Italian citizen last week, resolving work permit issues in England and allowing Leeds to push ahead with a plan to bring him to the Championship.

Jerry Mbako

Jerry Mbako

The 25-year-old, who moved to Italy as a youngster and has never been capped by Nigeria, would not have qualified for a Football Association work permit without an EU passport but confirmation of his new status arrived a matter of weeks before the start of the summer transfer window.

Leeds have been tracking Mbakogu since January when talks with Serie B club Carpi were first initiated. United, who have first refusal on the forward, delayed any deal until the summer due to the uncertainty over his citizenship and Carpi’s wish to retain him until the end of the season.

Mbakogu has been troubled by injury in the second half of the Serie B term but was back in Carpi’s side as substitute during a 0-0 draw with Avelino on Saturday. Carpi are unlikely to make the play-offs, lying eight points adrift with four games to play.

Mbakogu’s finishing has been far from prolific this season, with 22 league appearances yielding six goals, but Leeds remain tempted to take a chance on a player who is valued in the region of £4m.