Reports from Italy this week state that Leeds United have a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ with Juventus to sign Weston McKennie permanently in the summer if the Whites avoid relegation – but is he worth the permanent £34.3m fee?
McKennie, 24, joined Leeds on loan in the January window. A deal that saw Leeds reunite McKennie with his USA teammates Brenden Aaronson and childhood friend Tyler Adams. Jesse Marsch was obviously a pull for McKennie.
The loan included a permanent option but McKennie was only given one game under Marsch, coming off the bench in the 1-0 loss to Nottingham Forest. Since, he has started seven of his nine games for us, shining on Saturday.
He is getting better with every game – and it must have been tough for McKennie given the chaos he came into after joining. Losing a manager, interim manager for three games, and then five of his nine outings coming under Gracia.
Italian outlet Il Bianconero claim that there is an agreement between Leeds and Juventus. Not just the option of a permanent clause, but not an obligation either. A gentleman’s agreement, that Leeds will sign him if we stay up.
Leeds have McKennie agreement but is he worth £34.3m fee?
The report states that Leeds would pay £30.3million – plus, £4million in bonuses. So, is McKennie worth it? Right now, you would argue that he probably isn’t. He has now shown, just yet, that he is a near club-record signing.
But, there are a couple of areas that may see Leeds agree to meet the agreement. The first being, that as stated, it has been hard for McKennie so far. Three managers in nine games. There is now calmness at Leeds with Gracia.
It showed on Saturday with one of his better displays coming against Wolves. Leeds dominated the midfield of Wolves and it was key to the win – despite Wolves boasting Ruben Neves, Mario Lemina and newbie Joao Gomes.
The other key area is that McKennie is 24. Still very young. A player with massive charisma, a player that knows Adams well and huge experience for a man of his age – playing 196 club games, and 41 times for his country.
While it is an expensive outlay given his Leeds form so far, thought must be given to the player he could be. The player he has shown he can be while at Schalke and Juventus, and for USA. A risk, but one worth taking.