The summer transfer window is closed and Sky Bet Championship clubs must now wait until January 1 in order to make any signings from other clubs. However, the free-agent market is open all year round and it is here that Leeds United are said to be looking.
A report from TEAMtalk has said that United are battling Premier League duo West Ham United and Brighton and Hove Albion to land free agent defensive midfielder Nemanja Radoja. TEAMtalk say that all three sides “have expressed an interest” in the Serbian international who they say “is understood to have an EU passport.”
Nemanja Radoja – five things about the former £8millon-rated Serb
1. He’s a two-cap Serbia international: fair enough, the two caps are from the 2016/17 season but before that he heavily represented Serbia at Under-19 level (nine caps) and Under-21 level (nine caps). Whilst he did not score internationally, he was recognised as an upcoming talent at the time.
2. Experience in Europe: Radoja has 222 games of experience in Europe for former club Celta Vigo through the Europa League, both the competition itself (14 games) and its qualifying component (eight games). That level of experience is the sort that cannot be bought.
3. Top-tier experience at Celta Vigo: he played 115 LaLiga games for Celta Vigo before running down his deal and ending up as a free agent. These 115 games came across four of the five years that he was at the club, marking him out to be an almost first-choice on the teamsheet type of player for the Spanish side.
4. 2018/19 a washout: after four seasons at Celta Vigo where he pretty much played nearly a 30-games-a-season man, last season’s campaign was a washout for the Serbian midfielder. An injury meant that he didn’t participate in the first-team, recording zero time on the pitch in what was his final season at Celta Vigo.
5. Quality back-up: Radoja would easily fit the job of a quality back-up to Kalvin Phillips at Elland Road. Since being reborn under Marcelo Bielsa’s leadership, Phillips has established himself as key to what Leeds United achieve. Having a strong back-up like Radoja could benefit the Whites in what is an arduous 46-game Championship campaign.
Radoja reaction as Leeds United ‘chase’ Serbian midfielder
So, are Leeds United chasing Nemanja Radoja and in a three-horse race with West Ham and Brighton for his signature? Likely not. Why? Well, Marcelo Bielsa is meticulous about his signings and the system that he plays, preferring a lean side where players are able to provide in-squad cover.
Does Leeds United have that in’squad cover? Yes. In midfielders such as Adam Forshaw and Mateusz Klich, United have that capacity to cover any Kalvin Phillips absence with players such as Jamie Shackleton and Alfie McAlmont more than capable of stepping up from the Under-23s and into the first-team.
As a Leeds United fan, and as far as free agents go, don’t be looking towards that list in the expectation that a signing will be made. More likely you’d be best investing the patience in waiting for the January window to open.