World Football

Leeds eyeing Lyon’s Maxwel Cornet

Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa is eyeing a move for Lyon star Maxwel Cornet, a player who impressed Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.

What’s the story?

With the Premier League fixtures released earlier on Wednesday morning, anticipation is no doubt already growing at Elland Road about the Whites’ second season back in the top-flight.

And now, reports claim that Leeds are interested in signing Ivory Coast international Cornet this summer, and that his “pace and skill is attractive to boss Marcelo Bielsa”.

He impressed Guardiola

The £26m-rated Cornet initially broke onto the scene as a winger, but last season under Rudi Garcia, transitioned into a flying left-back, and enjoyed a superb campaign because of it.

The 24-year-old managed four goals and six assists in 39 games across all competitions, and showed that he’s more than capable of sticking to the defensive side of the game – as per Sofascore, he made 1.9 tackles and 1.2 interceptions per game in Ligue, and won 4.6 duels per match too (contrast that to Kalvin Phillips who averaged 2.6 tackles, 1.6 interceptions and 5.3 duels won per game).

But really, Cornet’s versatility – he’s played up and down the left-flank and also on the right – is reminiscent of Leeds’ very own jack of all trades star, Stuart Dallas.

The Northern Irishman was one of the stand-out performers for Bielsa’s side last season, filling in a number of different roles, including both full-back positions and in central midfield too.

While Cornet hasn’t yet had a stint in the middle of the park, the fact his defensive numbers were so strong last season indicates he could well be an exciting box-to-box option for Bielsa in the Premier League, especially given his natural pace and attacking instincts from being a winger.

And, after seeing him shine against his Manchester City side in the Champions League, even Guardiola was left raving about the Ivorian.

He said: “We only talk about PSG but there are many good French teams, I was very impressed by the talent of Maxwel Cornet. There are many talents in France, I like to play the Champions League because there is a very high quality everywhere, players, coaches.”

With his versatility and his energy, Bielsa could sign Leeds’ new Dallas in Cornet this summer.

Meanwhile, Leeds United could sign a new Ian Harte in this star…

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