Leeds United have tapped into a number of under-the-radar markets in recent months, and sent scouts to Portugal on Friday night.
It’s been all change at Leeds United since the end of last season. There’s a new manager in place, a new scouting system, a new director of football, plenty of new players and, most importantly of all, a new owner in affable Italian Andrea Radrizzani.
Fittingly, the recruitment plans at Elland Road seem completely different from those during the reign of Massimo Cellino and ex-manager Garry Monk too. Whereas Leeds brought in a number of players blessed with English football experience last season, The Whites have tapped into new markets this time around.
Samu Saiz arrived from the Spanish second division, Ezgjan Alioski from Switzerland, Pawel Cibicki from Sweden, Jay-Roy Grot from Holland, Felix Wiedwald from Germany, Caleb Ekuban from Italy and Yosuke Ideguchi (below) from Japan.
So far, no player has arrived from Portugal on a permanent deal (winger Hadi Sacko turned his loan deal from Sporting Lisbon permanent in the summer).
That may be about to change sooner rather than later, though. Portugal's A Bola reported that Leeds United sent scouts to watch Chaves draw 1-1 with Tondela on Friday night.
Two of the smaller clubs in Portugal’s top flight, ranked 11th and 15th in the current league table, played out a 1-1 draw - though the object of Leeds’ affections is as yet unknown.
25-year-old Chaves forward William, who opened the scoring for the hosts, was the pick of the bunch during the game and has now scored four goals in eight league games this season. Whether Leeds would be interested in enhancing their forward line with Ekuban struggling for injuries, however, remains to be seen.
Leeds sending scouts to one of Portugal’s smaller clubs is another example, however, that they are thinking outside the box in the transfer market.