Leeds United are eying Middlesbrough forward Britt Assombalonga as the successor to Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah at Elland Road, according to the Mirror.
Boss Marcelo Bielsa confirmed that the Gunners had recalled Nketiah on New Year’s Day following our 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion, though is yet to see Director of Football Victor Orta add another centre-forward to his ranks.
United had been credited with an interest in adding Southampton’s Che Adams to our promotion chase, and there had been talk of Watford’s Andre Gray, though Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl was opposed to losing his side’s £15million summer signing and the Hornets priced the Whites out of a deal.
Attentions have now allegedly turned away from St. Mary’s and Vicarage Road and rather to the Riverside Stadium, with Assombalonga now seen as the man to succeed Nketiah at Elland Road.
Assombalonga is currently out injured with an ankle injury, which has prevented Boro’s £15m summer 2017 addition from playing in any competition since December 7.
The 27-year-old is expected to be available for action next week, and Bielsa hopes to have someone – potentially the DR Congo international – at hand when we face Millwall next Tuesday.
Would you sign Assombalonga?
Bielsa has seen his frontline struggle in front of the goal in recent weeks, with United last lashing home in the second-tier for ourselves on December 29 when Stuart Dallas struck the net against Birmingham City.
Our two more recent goals have come through own goals, with Wes Harding netting the winner against Birmingham and Semi Ajayi equalising for us against West Brom on New Year’s Day.
Patrick Bamford had a great chance to end our drought at Queens Park Rangers on Saturday, but the Grantham-born forward saw his penalty saved by Liam Kelly after the 23-year-old guessed right and was able to palm the ball away.
Signing Assombalonga would be a reasonably solid option, as the two-time international is a proven second-tier talent with 65 goals in 175 Championship appearances between spells with Watford, Nottingham Forest and Boro.
He has struck six of his 65 goals in the second-tier this term, for a minute per goal ratio of one every 281.1. The 2013/14 Football League Trophy winner has also been credited with two assists in the league this season.
Assombalonga has also been averaging 1.7 shots per Championship game this term, alongside 0.7 key passes, 24.9 touches, 0.9 successful dribbles, wins 4.6 duels – 2.3 ground, 2.3 air – and gets fouled 1.9 times, per Sofa Score data.
The 5 ft 9 hitman loses possession 9.2 times per league game, though, and gets called offside 0.9 times, makes his 4.6 successful duels from 31% of his total battles and has missed ten big chances overall.
In other Leeds United news, a £10.8m-rated striker is likely to stay away from Elland Road this month.