Leeds transfer rumours: Club show interest in yet another Serie A midfielder

Napoli midfielder and Leeds target Eljif Elmas scoring in an international against Germany

Leeds have shown an interest in signing Napoli midfielder Eljif Elmas, as reported by The Athletic.

What's the latest news involving Elmas?

Elmas has spent the last two seasons at Napoli, and he still has four years left on his contract with the club.

This has not prevented other teams monitoring the youngster, though, as it has been reported that Leeds, Benfica and Borussia Dortmund have all been tracking him over the last 12 months.

He is just the latest Serie A midfielder to be linked with Leeds, as the club are also reportedly keen on signing Rodrigo De Paul and Nahitan Nandez this summer as well.

How much would Elmas cost?

When Napoli signed Elmas from Fenerbahce in 2019, they had to pay €17m (£14.6m) plus add-ons to secure his signature.

Given the length of his contract, it is understood that Leeds would likely have to pay in excess of that fee to have a realistic chance of signing the 21-year-old.

Does Elmas know any of Leeds' current squad?

He certainly does, meaning that he could be sharing the dressing room with a familiar face next season.

Elmas plays international football for North Macedonia alongside Leeds' left-back Ezgjan Alioski. The defender is out of contract at Elland Road at the end of the month, but he has recently been offered a new and improved deal, so he could still stay in Yorkshire next season.

Elmas and Alioski have played together on 24 occasions on the international stage, and will get to add to that total at this summer's European Championships.

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Would Elmas be a better option than De Paul and Nandez?

Elmas made 33 league appearances in 2020/21, but it has to be noted that 30 of those were from the bench (via WhoScored). By contrast, De Paul and Nandez started 36 and 31 games respectively, although they were playing for bottom-half clubs, while Elmas was in a side battling for Champions League football, where competition for places was fierce.

Nevertheless, it would be fair to say that De Paul and Nandez are at different stages in their careers when compared with Elmas. Both seem to be at their peak, with De Paul recording 19 goal contributions this term, whereas Nandez displayed his all-round ability by making 56 tackles and completing 31 key passes.

Therefore, if Leeds are looking to bring in players that are at the top of their games already and are ready to make an impact right away, it seems that De Paul and Nandez would be better options than Elmas.

However, if Marcelo Bielsa wants to look at the long-term evolution of his side and is keen on bringing through young players, then signing Elmas could be a wise investment, as at 21, Elmas still has plenty of improvements to make, and could have the highest ceiling out of the trio in the long run.

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