Report claims Leeds United to buy Standard Liège prospect Nicolas Raskin but what's the latest? - YEP 16/1/22

Leeds United are not currently in talks to sign Standard Liège midfielder Nicolas Raskin, the YEP understands.

By Graham Smyth

A report in a national newspaper has suggested the Whites are set to sign the 20-year-old this week in a £6m deal, but according to his camp no talks have taken place and the suggestion from Leeds is that he's not one of their top targets for January.

As a defensive midfielder Raskin has a profile that would make him an interesting prospect for Leeds and as one of Belgium's leading young lights there are a number of clubs monitoring his situation. Raskin, capped by Belgium at Under 21 level, is contracted to Standard Liège until the summer of 2023 but according to sources close to the player, a January move away from Les Rouches is a possibility.

Leeds are in the market for a midfielder this month to bolster Marcelo Bielsa' s squad, having not added a senior signing in that area since Adam Forshaw joined the club from Middlesbrough in 2018. No new arrivals are thought to be imminent, yet, however. Their first bit of January transfer business came in the form of teenage Espanyol striker Mateo Joseph Fernandez. That deal was done by January 4 and the 18-year-old has linked up with Mark Jackson's Under 23s initially.

The club's other business has revolved around the contract situations of those already at Elland Road. Kris Moore, an 18-year-old centre-half, put pen to paper on his first ever professional contract and will remain at the club until the summer of 2024. Adam Forshaw also reached an agreement with the club to extend his stay. The midfielder has been a revelation since returning from almost two years out through injury, dumbfounding expectations with his performances and energy levels. Putting back-to-back-to-back displays together and looking none the worse for it physically is just what he and Leeds needed. His new contract is a one-year extension but the Whites do hold an option to keep him until 2024.

Talks are also ongoing with Brazilian winger Raphinha, something Bielsa has called a 'great decision.' Raphinha has been the subject of transfer talk across Europe in recent months though the Whites have no intention of selling their key winger in the January window.

His agent and former Barcelona man Deco was spotted in LS11 last month and the YEP understands contract talks began in earnest earlier this month.

Bielsa has welcomed the move.

“I think it is a great decision," he said.

"Raphinha is the best player in the team in all the senses. Physically, he is the best, technically he is at the level of the best and the interpretation that he has of the game is very good, very wise.

"He is within the group of such a powerful nation as Brazil. He shines in the Premier League and he has the attention of all the big clubs in the world. All of those things are something that you guys know as much as me, nothing that I am saying is new. As a result, the decision of the club can only be valued.”

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