Phil Hay has told his Athletic podcast that Leeds United have structured a deal for Georginio Rutter that gives them a chance of still signing a midfielder – with the Leeds reporter naming Azzedine Ounahi as one to “keep an eye on”.

Rutter, 20, is expected to be announced on Friday ahead of this evening’s clash against Aston Villa at Villa Park. The Hoffenheim youngster will be a club-record signing, with Fabrizio Romano claiming it is an initial fee of £24.8m.

Then, another £10.7m in add-ons. It will take Leeds spending to around £35million initially, and potentially beyond £50million if bonuses are included. Max Wober joined for an initial £10million. It could reach a fee of £17million.

So, after sorting issues out at left-back and up top, attention could turn towards the midfield. 90Min say Leeds are the club to have made the most-recent offer to sign Morocco’s World Cup star Ounahi. Hay has had his say.

TSG Hoffenheim v VfL Wolfsburg - Bundesliga
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“It’s definitely one to keep an eye on, I think. Leeds do like him and there is a temptation to get involved in this one. I get the impression that part of the rationale for making sure the price for Rutter is right,” Hay said.

“They didn’t want to pay so much up front, that it did not give them little wriggle room for someone else. You will have seen the reports that Napoli wanted him. Premier League clubs have a lot more draw and financial clout.

“You can have a team as prominent as Napoli, don’t have the ability to compete with clubs further down the Premier League. I think now, he will be around £20million and more in incentives,” Hay added, on his latest podcast.

Hay: Leeds structured Rutter deal to give them chance of Ounahi signing

Ounahi was wonderful for Morocco at the World Cup – the creative heartbeat alongside Hakim Ziyech of Chelsea. Napoli, Leicester, PSG and other clubs have been linked with the Angers midfielder. A fee of £20million is cheap.

Especially, because attacking midfielder Ounahi is rated at just £20million. He is able to play as a box-to-box midfielder, as an eight or a 10, or even out wide, given he has that turn of pace and slight frame. A smart signing.

Croatia v Morocco: 3rd Place - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
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