Leeds looking at late move for “monster” 6 ft target to help Ampadu

Leeds United just about scraped by last game versus Preston North End, needing a last-gasp Joel Piroe penalty to overcome Ryan Lowe’s tricky visitors 2-1.

Ethan Ampadu stood out again at the heart of defence in this narrow victory, pushed back there by Daniel Farke in recent weeks to fill in for Pascal Struijk being out injured and making the Whites forget about their missing Dutchman in the process.

Leeds vs Preston: Key stats











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Stats via Sofascore.

Winning all but one of his duels against Preston, Farke will be glad he has his flexible number four in Ampadu to fall back on in defence but could well opt to sign another centre-back this month regardless.

The standout 23-year-old could well be given the freedom to return to midfield as a result, Leeds significantly strengthening their back four with this potential incoming.

Leeds going after Premier League centre-back

First reported by Italian outlet Calcio Mercato on Sunday, Leeds are very much deep in a transfer tussle for the services of Everton centre-back Ben Godfrey this month with Italian giants AC Milan also keen on the 6-foot defender.

The report further states that Leeds’ Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United in the Premier League are also in the running to sign Godfrey to bolster their leaky defence, but the Whites will hope they can land Godfrey despite all this interest from elsewhere.

A promotion winner at Championship level with Norwich City previously in his career, the frozen out Toffees man – who has only managed one full 90 minutes this season so far in the top flight under Sean Dyche – would relish an opportunity to return to the second tier with Leeds to add another promotion to his career resume.

Costing the Toffees £25m to poach him from the Canaries back in 2020, the current Everton number 22 would slot effortlessly into the Leeds eleven and would allow for Ampadu to feel liberated again away from picking up centre-back responsibilities.

Why Godfrey would benefit Ampadu

Excelling in a holding midfield role alongside reliable partner Glen Kamara for the majority of the season before Struijk’s unfortunate knock, it makes sense for Godfrey to take up Struijk’s vacant spot with Ampadu then returning to partner the Finnish midfielder.

Ilia Gruev has stepped up to the mark alongside the ex-Rangers man with Ampadu further back – winning five ground duels as a dogged option in the centre of the park versus Preston – but Farke’s lineup is enhanced with Godfrey coming in and a reshuffle taking place.

Comparing Godfrey and Ampadu when it comes to both completing their basic defensive duties, Godfrey reigns supreme with the Toffees man bettering the Leeds star when it comes to clearances, aerials won and tackles per 90 minutes over the last year.

Godfrey comes in at 4.49 clearances, 1.72 aerials won and 2.11 tackles with Ampadu falling flat in contrast with a lesser 1.93 clearances, 0.89 aerials won and 1.93 tackles managed according to FBRef.

Godfrey’s ability to be imposing and authoritative even saw Mirror Football journalist James Whaling once refer to him as a “monster”, the fringe Everton man operating as a no-nonsense centre-back unafraid to roll up his sleeves at his best.

Ethan Ampadu for Leeds United

With Ampadu far more comfortable in being the glue between both the defence and attack as a progressive option on the ball – amassing 4.90 progressive passes on average per 90 minutes over the same time period on top of an 87.1% pass accuracy – he would surely love the idea of playing further forward again. Indeed, Godfrey would seamlessly slot in alongside Joe Rodon as a confident defender ready for the demands of the level with Ampadu able to express himself more as a result.

Farke will want to get a deal over the line for Godfrey very soon, worrying about the lack of options he has at his disposal with Struijk still sidelined with the Everton man feeling like the perfect January buy as a result.

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