Leeds United are lining up an offer for Benfica defender Branimir Kalaica after he scored highly on their tracking tools, Football Insider understands.
The Croatian, 22, has emerged on the radar of the Championship leaders as they look to recruit a new centre-back this summer.
A recruitment source has told Football Insider that Leeds are ready to test Benfica’s resolve to keep Kalaica with a firm bid.
The defender is said to have scored excellent data metrics on Leeds’ sophisticated tracking tools as the club assess centre-backs who can carry the ball forward and fit into Marcelo Bielsa’s style of play.
United are aware of rival interest in Kalaica from Celtic and Watford ahead of the summer transfer window.
It is likely to open at the end of July, with Premier League clubs due to vote at their latest shareholders meeting today on a proposal for the window to run from 27 July to 5/6 October.
Croatia Under-21 international Kalaica joined Portuguese giants Benfica from Dinamo Zagreb in 2016 on a free transfer.
The ball-playing, dominant central defender scored on his Benfica debut against Boavista in 2017, but in the last couple of seasons he has been playing for Benfica B in the Portugese second tier.
Leeds could sign at least two centre-backs this summer if, as seems likely, they get promoted to the Premier League.
They dropped to second in the Championship after West Brom’s 2-0 triumph last night but will leapfrog back ahead of Slaven Bilic’s side if they defeat Stoke City in Thursday’s 5pm kick-off.
United face losing loan star Ben White at the end of the season, while back-up Gaetano Berardi is also out of contract.
That would leave skipper Liam Cooper as the only senior centre-back in Bielsa’s first-team squad.
In other Leeds United news, it can be revealed that the club are in line for a multi-million Augustin payment after new twist.
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