Leeds United midfielder Weston McKennie is on loan from Juventus and has been subject to growing transfer speculation from Aston Villa and in Italy this week.
A full USMNT international, McKennie impressed during the World Cup, earning an initial loan move to Elland Road, with a reported €33million option to buy included in the deal.
CalcioMercato have now reported that Juventus hold interest in Leeds’ Italy international Wilfried Gnonto, and would be willing to propose a swap deal to Leeds with McKennie’s permanent arrival at Elland Road seeing Gnonto go the other way as part of a deal.
Tutto Sport are also claiming that Aston Villa manager Unai Emery is “crazy” about the midfielder and would want to sign him in the summer if he was available to them.
Here, we take a look at THREE alternatives if a deal falls through for McKennie this summer.
If Leeds wanted a more attack-minded midfielder, with Tyler Adams and Marc Roca covering the deeper midfield spots, then they should be in for Alex Scott of Bristol City this summer.
Scott is versatile and has played a variety of different midfield roles at Ashton Gate, but is more of a creative midfielder with good progressive passing. He could be a bit of a project to play in central or attacking-midfield for Leeds but would add a new dynamic to their play.
In some ways McKennie would be the main upgrade for Adam Forshaw, but that isn’t as necessary if the Englishman is retained. Scott could be the replacement for Mateusz Klich in the pockets behind the forwards. His dribbling and carrying threat is improving all the time as well. The 19-year-old won’t be short of options this summer, though.
Quiz: How much do you know about Leeds United’s January recruit Weston McKennie? Find out here…
Frattesi is an athletic and stylish central-midfield player and would be a no-brainer upgrade in midfield and a more attacking alternative to McKennie. Currently playing for U.S. Sassuolo in Serie A, the 23-year-old’s stock has risen dramatically in the last few seasons. He is fairly well-rounded and a full Italian international already.
Frattesi’s main position is also as a box-to-box player. He can be an aggressive ball-carrier like Adams. However, his primary role with Sassuolo has been playmaking from deep and cycling the ball around short in midfield, with the occasional cross-field diagonal to mix things up. Very much akin to what Roca can be capable of.
His ball progression, mobility, and agility make his dynamism in transition a major benefit. He would be a good other option to McKennie who can play a variety of midfield roles for the Whites. He would be more ready to start as opposed to a project player in Scott.
This would perhaps be the most ambitious move, should Leeds make a move for Fofana in the summer.
He is a well-rounded central-midfielder, although predominantly more of an attack-minded box-to-box player. He is aggressive in his play but athletic and mobile enough to make intelligent runs with and without the ball. The main upside he brings is central ball carrying.
Fofana also has an impressive eye for a pass and a fantastic engine to get around the pitch. He wouldn’t just be an alternative to McKennie but an upgrade as well. He is 28 this summer and out of contract in 12 months with RC Lens as well, so would probably be affordable at a reasonable price, too.