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Leeds rumoured to be interested in River Plate goalkeeper Augusto Batalla

The 22 year-old is the latest keeper to be linked with Leeds

River Plate v Gimnasia de Jujuy Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Leeds United have been searching for a goalkeeper during this summer transfer window, but the keepers that have been linked with a move to Leeds don’t appear to be coming.

David Stockdale’s desire to play at his boyhood club appears to be in serious trouble because of a stubborn Birmingham City board, Angus Gunn has made a permanent move from Manchester City to Southampton, leaving Chelsea’s Jamal Blackman, who spent last year on loan at Sheffield United, as the only real legitimate “linked” keeper.

Reports out of Argentina, however, indicate that Leeds may be interested in a 22 year-old former U20 Argentina keeper from River Plate, Augusto Batalla. It appears that the keeper is surplus to requirements at his current club, and while it would be surprising to see a player from South America linked to Leeds, the presence of Marcelo Bielsa might go a long way towards explaining the interest.

Batalla is looking for a new club after spending the majority of last season on the bench at River. He did go on a loan spell at Club Atlético Tucumán, but it doesn’t seem like that move will be made permanent.

At Atlético Tucumán, Batalla made 13 first team appearances in the Primera División after making a move in the January transfer window. Batalla previously had made on three appearances for River Plate in the Primera División. He also made five Copa Libertadores appearances for Atlético Tucumán.

In the five Copa Libertadores matches, Batalla kept two clean sheets and allowed six goals. For the Primera División, he made 16 appearances between both clubs, allowing 20 goals and keeping five clean sheets.

Batalla hasn’t gotten the greatest reputation in Argentina right now, so perhaps a change of pace could do him some good. Of course, the biggest stumbling block to any move to England and Leeds for the young keeper would be the issue of a work permit. He’s made a total of 11 appearances for the Argentina U20 team, and has made no international appearances since the 2015 U20 World Cup, which was almost three years ago. While Argentina has a high enough FIFA ranking to warrant a permit, his lack of appearances at an international level would be a stumbling block, unless he was able to somehow acquire a European passport before coming to Leeds.

In short, this rumour doesn’t seem very likely and should be taken with a huge grain of salt. The issue with a work permit, combined with the age and progress of Batalla, makes this seem like a great move on paper but overly complicated in the real world. It seems that someone has taken the presence of Bielsa at Leeds and suggested a move that would be difficult to pull off.