Italian outlet CalcioMercato say Leeds United are considering a reunion between Torino defender Nicolas N’Koulou and manager Marcelo Bielsa, with the 72-time Cameroon international set to see his contract with the Serie A side expire at the end of the season. But do Leeds really need another centre-back, after signing Diego Llorente and Robin Koch last summer?
N’Koulou, 30, is a central defender with huge experience in France and Italy. Pace, strength, composure, the centre-back is getting better with age, having clocked up more than 400 appearances at club level. More than 200 of those have come with Marseille, some of which came under Marcelo Bielsa – while he has also played more than 100 times at Torino.
This season, the African powerhouse has been in and out of the Torino side – clocking up 13 appearances. Italian newspaper TuttoSport claimed Leicester City wanted to sign N’Koulou last summer, but they failed with a move. Now, a move is expected with the defender available on a free transfer with his current deal expiring at the end of June.
Clearly, he is experienced with plenty of quality and still lots to offer over the next couple of seasons at the top level. But do Leeds need another centre-back? The Whites currently boast captain Liam Cooper, along with summer signings Robin Koch and Diego Llorente – as well as breakthrough defender Pascal Struijk. Gaetano Berardi, like N’Koulou, is out of contract in the summer.
Berardi will probably go, while Struijk has been linked with Leicester and Napoli – as per Telegraaf. Llorente, Koch and Cooper have all had their injury problems this seasons – and Bielsa likes to play three at the back on occasion. If N’Koulou is willing to reconnect with Bielsa on a low-ish contract and be used as a squad player, then on a free, N’Koulou would be a top signing for Leeds. Unlikely, though.