By Richard Parks
Leeds United will make a second bid to sign Nigerian striker Jerry Mbakogu in the summer window, according to a report.
The Mail claim that the Championship big hitters are set to revive their interest in the front man, who plays for Italian Serie B side Carpi.
It is said that Leeds made a £3.5million move for Mbakogu, 25, in the recently-completed January window but Carpi were unwilling to lose him at the midway point of the campaign.
The Mail report that the Nigerian has applied for a dual Italian passport as he has been in Italy since he was a teenager and this development “could help smooth a deal for Leeds in the summer rather than wait on a work permit”.
This comes after widespread speculation, including in Gazza Mercato, that United have set aside £4.4million to sign Mbakogu in the summer.
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 above £3.5million 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.
In other Leeds United news, a 27-year-old has insisted he still has a BIG future at the club after reports he will never play for the Yorkshire giants again.
By Richard Parks