Leeds plot £20m swoop for defensive beast

Mykola Matviyenko in training

Leeds need defenders, there are no two ways about it. They have just one fit senior centre-half - Liam Cooper.

Fortunately, the Whites have been linked with a multitude of central defenders.

Whether it be Robin Koch, Rob Holding or even Calum Chambers, it doesn't look like they're short of options.

Of course, the number one target this summer had been Ben White.

However, after Leeds saw a third bid rejected of £25m for his services from Brighton, it looks like their chances of signing him are incredibly slim.

Leeds have responded to that news wonderfully though. To soften the blow, they're smashing their transfer record out the window to sign Rodrigo for a price of around £31m

The Valencia forward will arrive with a hefty reputation, having played for his country and in the Champions League.

Ben White

Leeds are in no place to stop their recruitment there and have identified another player with international and continental experience.

This time, it's a defender, one capped 26 times by Ukraine.

According to a report from 90min, the Whites are interested in signing Mykola Matviyenko from Shakhtar Donetsk. 

They'll face plenty of competition for his signature with Everton, Wolves and West Ham also eyeing a move for the 24-year-old. 

It's thought that Matviyenko will be available for around £20m, a similar price to what's being touted for Koch. 

Matviyenko was linked with a move to Manchester City not so long ago, while Arsenal have also followed his progress. A deal to sign him, therefore, would be a coup. 


GIVEMESPORT'S Matt Dawson says...

There has been a clear theme when it's come to defensive targets for Leeds - they must be able to pass the ball.

That has become the method of approach for a Leeds backline that under Marcelo Bielsa, plays it on the deck and looks to pass out of trouble. 

Fortunately, Matviyenko fits that brand of football.

In 2019/20, he completed 88.4% of his passes for Shakhtar. Funnily enough, that tally surpasses not only Koch, but also Ben White. It also betters other transfer targets Lyanco, Holding and Chambers.

Based on that, is he the supreme option this summer? Quite possibly. 

Matviyenko vs Manchester City

Matviyenko has already shown he has what it takes to bully English opposition too.

When Shakhtar played Manchester City in the Champions League last term, he was on top form as the Ukrainians drew 1-1 at the Etihad. 

The defender kept both Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne quiet on his way to making a colossal six interceptions. Matviyenko also made seven clearances and two tackles in a fabulous all-round display.

He is robust, but also incredibly technical. As of January 2020, he'd made 26 key passes in 25 matches. For a centre-back, that's a very eye-catching tally. 

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