EXCLUSIVE By Pete O’Rourke
Marcelo Bielsa has given the green light for Leeds United to swoop for Fulham midfielder Stefan Johansen this summer, Football Insider sources understand.
Director of football Victor Orta has drawn up a list of free agents who can be targeted depending upon whether United are in the Championship or Premier League next season.
A Leeds source has told Football Insider that Johansen’s name has caught the attention of manager Bielsa, despite a disappointing season for the Norway international.
The source said the Argentine believes the 28-year-old is “one of the best free agents in the market this summer” and has given the go-ahead for United to make a move regardless of which division they are in.
Leeds are yet to accelerate transfer plans, as their fate depends upon the outcome of the final seven league games of the season as well as potentially the end-of-season play-offs that finish in late May.
Johansen is regarded as an attractive target because of his experience, pedigree and ability to set the tempo in central midfield as well as create and score goals.
The Norway captain has a fine record at Fulham and was integral to their promotion campaign last season, with his 104 matches for the club yielding 21 goals and 18 assists.
At previous club Celtic, Johansen was also highly influential, scoring 19 goals and supplying 22 assists from 114 games.
In other Leeds United transfer news, it can be REVEALED the club have agreed a fee with rival club as deal is done to sign attacker ahead of summer window.