By Russell Parks
Leeds United have a “gentleman’s agreement” to sign Carpi striker Jerry Mbakogu in the summer transfer window, it has been confirmed.
The Serie B club’s general manager Matteo Scali has admitted to Italian outlet Gazzetta Dello Sport that the Yorkshire giants are working on a deal to land Mbakogu, 25.
“There’s a gentleman agreement with Leeds for June,” Scali said, as quoted by Gazzetta.
This comes after widespread speculation, including in Gazza Mercato, that United have set aside £4.4million to sign Mbakogu in the upcoming window and have held advanced talks with Carpi about a deal.
It is said that intermediary Lorenzo Tonetti, who is a close ally of Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani and frequently posts images on Instagram about the club and its activities, is spearheading the club’s pursuit of the player.
However, Leeds must overcome red tape, including securing a work permit for the player, to get the deal done.
Scouts from the Yorkshire giants were present to watch Mbakogu score for the second tier Italian club in their 2-1 win against Spezia Calcio last month to take his haul for the campaign to eight goals in 21 appearances in all competitions.
The Nigerian has scored 37 goals in 126 Carpi matches as well as supplied 22 assists.
Football Insider verdict:
On the face of it, a fee of £4.4million is a very hefty one by Leeds’ standards. Indeed, it would be the most they have paid for a striker since their Premier League glory days when they forked out £11million to sign Robbie Fowler from Liverpool in November 2001. United spent big, by their standards, when they paid £4.5million for Adam Forshaw from Middlesbrough in the January window. But at least he is a proven Championship performer, while Mbakogu would be an unknown quantity whose career has been spent in the Italian lower leagues. Leeds fans are craving a centre-forward proven in the Championship and able to hit the ground running. Mbakogu has a creditable scoring record and is approaching his peak years, but he will have much to prove when he arrives at Elland Road.