AZ Alkmaar secured a place in the Europa Conference League semi-final on Thursday largely thanks to Leeds target Vangelis Pavlidis, who scored a first-half brace to level the tie – after AZ lost the first leg to Belgian side Anderlecht.
Pavlidis, 24, has been in stunning form for the Eredivisie side this season. Indeed, his brace last night has taken him to 22 goals in 34 games – having managed 25 in 41 games last season. His form is not going unnoticed in England.
A recent report from Jeunes Footeux claims that Leeds and Aston Villa are among the clubs looking to bring him to the Premier League – but he would cost a fee of £22m. Leeds manager target Arne Slot wanted him at Feyenoord.
It was an up and down game for Pavlidis. The Greece international started and levelled the tie with his first-half brace – despite coming up against the likes of Jan Vertonghen. But, he was withdrawn at half-time due to an injury.
AZ needed extra time and the penalties to get the job done without Pavlidis. But they were lethal in the penalty shootout, scoring all four of their spot-kicks – while Anderlecht missed two of their three, not needing a fourth.
Leeds target Pavlidis scores two to secure Conference League semi-final
Another example of why Pavlidis is one of Europe’s hottest strikers yet to make the move to one of Europe’s top-five leagues. By the time the summer window opens, there will not only be Leeds and Villa on his trail – but many more.
The issue Leeds have is that they cannot begin work on any summer transfers yet, as they are yet to discover which League they are in. Pavlidis of course, will not want to join a Championship side. Leeds will not want to pay £22m.
But should Leeds stay up, then signing Pavlidis may be important. Rodrigo is in the final year of his deal, Patrick Bamford is not the same player he was, Georginio Rutter is yet to get going and Joe Gelhardt is likely to go on loan.