It’s no secret that the current Leeds United management structure has been looking at Spain for recruits to bolster the Yorkshire club. Not only has the club been successful in bringing players such as Samu Saiz to the club, where he has been one of the outstanding players so far this season, but the ranks of the Academy have been filled with Spanish and Spain based players this summer.
Victor Orta, the club’s Director of Football, is from Spain and previous worked at Sevilla and Elche CF before coming over to England and working at Middlesbrough. He’s also hired a former scout of his from his Sevilla days, Dani Salas, and the club also has a partnership agreement with La Liga 2 team Cultural Leonesa.
Leeds have now been linked by the Daily Mail to former Arsenal, and current Osasuna, central midfielder Fran Mérida. Mérida is a former Arsenal player who came up through the youth ranks at Barcelona before heading to London. He made a few appearances for Arsenal before heading out on loan to Real Sociedad and then on a free transfer to Atlético Madrid, where he was once again sent out on loan, this time to SC Braga in Portugal. After his loan spell in Portugal, he once again was allowed to leave on a free transfer to Hércules CF, spent time in Brazil with Atlético Paranaense, came back to Spain with SD Huesca and ended up at CD Osauna.
Mérida puts the “J” in “Journeyman” and so this “link” from the Daily Mail doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The Whites are stacked at central midfield right now, with the starting pair of Kalvin Phillips and Eunan O’Kane being good enough that the club’s Young Player of the Year last year, Ronaldo Vieira, has been left on the sidelines, summer transfer acquisition Mateusz Klich has been left on the bench, and last year’s captain, Liam Bridcutt, was allowed to leave for Nottingham Forest in a search for first team football.
Additionally, Leeds have been linked with Japan international Yosuke Ideguchi from Gamba Osaka and also have been rumored to be interested Argentina starlet Emiliano Buendia, who is on loan at Cultural Leonesa from Getafe. Both of those players are more attacking midfielders, and both of them are a lot younger than the 27 year old Mérida. While Leeds might need some additional players in the January transfer window, central midfield isn’t one of the areas that is going to need to be addressed. So while Leeds scouts have been spotted at Osasuna matches, they might be looking at someone else, or maybe this is just a distraction from their intended targets.