Earlier in the week, Read Norwich reported that Leeds United had enquired about Argentine Emi Buendia.
Now, Leeds United journalist Phil Hay has provided an update about the possibility of Buendia’s move. He has been speaking to the ‘Talking Shutt‘ podcast. Here is what he had to say,
[He’s] definitely someone they’re aware of, although I don’t think, at this stage, somebody that they’d be dead set on going for. [Leeds are] absolutely interested in him in the sense that they like him, and they like his ability and I do, too.
Buendia helped Norwich to promotion in the 2018/19 season with several standout performances. The midfielder has continued to impress this season despite Norwich being likely candidates for relegation.
The right-sided midfielder has shown on several occasions this season his creative ability.
Despite Buendía playing mostly as a right-sided attacking midfielder in a 4-2-3-1 system, he is given licence to drift inside to create. In the video seen below, Buendia picks the ball up in the centre circle. His movement has allowed him to get in between Leicesters midfield and defensive line. An inch-perfect through-ball to Pukki means the striker only needs to take one touch before slotting it into the back of the net.
YouTube: HIGHLIGHTS | Leicester City v Norwich City |
In that same game, Buendia also showed that he is more than comfortable playing long balls over the top for strikers to chase.
The Argentine’s creative ability places him third in the list of expected assists (xA) per 90 minutes (a measure of the quality of chances created, regardless of whether they were converted by a teammate). Buendia also ranks third in key passes per 90 minutes in the Premier League this season (out of midfielders who have played over 1000 minutes).
Another notable feature of Buendia’s style of play that will excite all linked to Leeds United is his dribbling ability. Buendia attempts the sixth-highest amount of dribbles per game and has a very high success rate. In fact, he completes just over 75% of his completed dribbles per 90 minutes.
However, one of the most pleasing attributes Bielsa must like the look of is Buendia’s work ethic. Buendia carries that work ethic across the whole of the pitch, not just in the attacking third. Despite being an attacking midfielder, Buendia is ranked third for attempted tackles per 90 minutes in the defensive third. This is higher than the likes of N’Golo Kante and Wilfred Ndidi. He is also willing to press players forcing them into mistakes and playing backwards.
It would be a great piece of business if Leeds are able to bring Buendia to Elland Road next season. Buendía has greatly impressed this season with his creativity, dribbling ability and high work rate. Leeds may be able to pick him up cheaper than his value due to the likelihood that Norwich will find themselves back in the Championship next season.
His quickness on the ball allows him to find pockets of space in between the lines. The only concern fans and Bielsa might have is Buendia’s lack of goals in the Premier League this season. Despite scoring eight times in Norwich’s Championship-winning season, he has failed to find the net in the top-flight this campaign.
Data taken from EPL Analysis