Leeds United and wingers. It’s the story that just won’t go away. It’s getting to the stage where you can just type in ‘Leeds winger’ into a search engine and you’ll probably find them linked to just about everyone in the world. Do you think I’m joking?
They’ve been linked in the French Media (via Sky Sports) to Dimitri Payet over the weekend, so I’m really not that far off.
Having been linked with three Liverpool wingers this summer in the forms of Harry Wilson only to be knocked back by Klopp saying he’s going to give the young winger a chance in the first team next year, Ovie Ejaria who spent the latter part of last year at Reading and Ryan Kent who spent last year at Rangers. Away from Liverpool, they’ve also looked at Carlisle’s Liam McCarron and Bristol City’s Callum O’Dowda.
However, SportIreland are reporting that Forest are set to join Leeds in the hunt to sign Irish winger O’Dowda, with Martin O’Neill hoping that the Republic of Ireland international will be more comfortable with a compatriot rather than the Argentinian Marcelo Bielsa.
You’d imagine that Leeds would be favourite to sign the winger in this situation. Even though Nottingham Forest have the compatriot advantage, Leeds are in a much better position to challenge immediately for success at the top of the table, whilst Nottingham Forest are going to spend the next few days looking for new members of the backroom staff.
In fact, The Times reported back in May that the reason O’Dowda was frozen out at Ashton Gate towards the end of the season was that he refused to sign a new contract because of Leeds’ interests, so you’d imagine he’d choose them if an offer came in. However, this move by Nottingham Forest could be yet another spanner in the wrench of Bielsa’s plans for this summer, and even though there are some reports to suggest that interest has died down over the winger, they won’t want any competition with another club over a potential signature.
That’s why Leeds need to make a decision now. With pre-season officially underway at Thorp Arch, now is the time to get players in to give them as long with the players as you can to get them to gel together. With Jack Clarke set to depart in the coming days, the new Leeds winger needs to replace him pretty sharpish, and the longer they go without signing O’Dowda the worse it is going to get.