Leeds have joined the race to sign Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare as they look to strengthen their midfield options this summer, according to a report.
Soumare was a top target for Newcastle in January 2020, with Steve Bruce admitting they had a plane booked for him before he changed his mind.
However, a report over the weekend claimed it was Leicester who were now leading the chase to sign the France U21 star.
Fabrizio Romano claims the Foxes had already contacted his agent over a prospective summer deal.
With just 12 months left on his current deal come the summer, Lille are expected to cash in on Soumare.
Now, according to Football Insider, that has also piqued Leeds’ interest. Reports at the weekend claimed Marcelo Bielsa has drawn up a list of summer targets for Leeds, raising hopes he will stay in charge. And with midfield cover and competition their No 1 priority, Soumare has been mentioned as a target.
Bielsa’s side have done well on their return to the Premier League, but have struggled whenever lynchpin Kalvin Phillips misses out. The England star has missed their last two games due to a combination of fitness issues and personal reasons. And in both those matches, Leeds have suffered defeats at Arsenal and Wolves.
Leeds played defender Pascal Struijk in Phillips’ role at Emirates Stadium. While the Dutchman has impressed at centre-half, he does look more uncomfortable playing further forward.
That was recognised by Bielsa at Molineux, with youngster Jamie Shackleton moved into the role. While he did well, it’s clearly a position Leeds feel needs strengthening.
There would be little doubting that Soumare would offer Leeds serious cover and competition for Phillips were he to sign. Indeed, he could even give their side a new dynamic with Mateusz Klich suffering a dip in form recently. The Pole’s dip saw him, at one time, lose his place in Bielsa’s starting XI.
Soumare is a powerful midfield enforcer, who has drawn comparisons to N’Golo Kante in the past. The 21-year-old joined Lille on a free transfer from PSG in summer 2017 and has made 93 appearances.
Indeed, Soumare has been a major factor in Lille’s push for Ligue 1 glory this season. As such, his form is likely to attract more interest before the summer window opens.
Subscribe for free to TEAMtalk’s daily newsletter…
Bielsa planning Leeds transfer offensive
Leeds, meanwhile, have been given hope that Bielsa will stay at the helm for a fourth season in charge.
United’s return to prominence in the Premier League this season has been masterminded by their enigmatic coach Bielsa.
Bielsa has been lauded for the impact he’s made on a squad that largely resembles the one he took over in 2018.
Bielsa is a cult hero in West Yorkshire, though fans face an agonising wait each year waiting to learn if he will remain with the club.
This is due to the manager only signing one-year extensions towards the latter part of the campaign.
Now, according to a trusted source, Leeds’ summer transfer plans have given an indication that Bielsa is set to stay.
READ MORE: Leeds star offers ‘something different’ and ‘deserves’ England call – pundit