Leeds United have been linked with a move for 24-year-old Fredrik Aursnes for a fee of around £5m, according to a report in The Sun. The report also links the player with Toulouse in Ligue 1.
The defensive midfielder broke into the senior team at Hodd as a 16-year-old and made over 100 appearances before moving to a bigger club by joining Molde FK in 2016.
Aursnes was a regular for the Norway u21 side but has not picked up a senior cap - if he was to play in the Premier League you would expect him to have a few caps by the age of 24.
This is one that doesn’t make sense to me as a move. Leeds could do with a backup to Kalvin Phillips in the “Phillips Role”, but at the age of 24 and having not made his bow on the international stage this does not look like it would be a move Leeds would make.
A glance at Aursnes’ statistics shows a passing accuracy of 89.3%, with an accuracy of 80% for forward passes. He plays 10.5 passes into the final third per 90mins played (75% accuracy). These passing stats stack up fairly well against Phillips, obviously at a strong team in a weak league so this doesn’t mean everything.
However, his defensive work loads are not up to Kalvin Phillips level. He enters five defensive duels per 90 (winning 56.4%) compared to nine per 90 for Phillips (winning 64.6%). Considering Leeds are moving up to a higher level this where they could have less of the ball, this drop off could be even more exposed. He also doesn’t win as many aerial duels.
More than the stats, Adam Forshaw is returning to fitness. Forshaw is best as one of the “number 8s” but he is an able deputy to Phillips, added to this is Pascal Struijk’s impressive end to the Championship season playing in the “Phillips Role”.
I don’t believe this link, but even if I did I wouldn’t think it was a good way to spend £5m.
Disagree with this assessment (which I admit was not in depth)? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @ThruItAllLUFC.