No one could ever accuse Andrea Radrizzani of lacking ambition.
When the reports first emerged, back in 2018, that Leeds United were looking to lure the legendary Marcelo Bielsa to Elland Road, they were met with a chorus of sniggers.
No one is laughing now.
While Radrizzani hit a brick wall in his attempts to bring in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani, Francesco Totti and even Gianluigi Buffon, the fact that he tried speaks volumes about a man whose dare-to-do mindset has Leeds’ long-suffering supporters dreaming of a return to the very top of English football.
While speculation linking the Yorkshire giants with Georgia international Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is unlikely to get the heart racing quite as much as the prospect of Totti providing ammunition for Ibrahimovic in front of a pulsating Elland Road, the context behind their latest transfer target is once again a reflection of Radrizzani’s aim-high approach.
Russian publication Soccer claim that Victor Orta has already met up with Kvaratskhelia’s representatives.
A skilful, left-footed, 20-year-old winger labelled the ‘Georgian Messi’, Kvaratskhelia could set Leeds back a near-club-record fee of £26 million.
But it is not just the price-tag – or those comparisons with the Barcelona captain – that catch the eye.
The report adds that Kvaratskhe’s admirers are a who’s who of European powerhouses; from Bayern Munich to Ajax, Monaco to Milan, Dortmund to Juventus. TMW claimed in April that newly-crowned Serie A champions Inter Milan are interested too.
“In five years, I want him to play for Real Madrid,” Kvaratskhe’s agent said a few weeks ago, before highlighting just how close his client came to joining the Bundesliga leaders.
“In 2018, Bayern Munich wanted to sign him up, we visited their facilities and met (sporting director Hasan) Salihamdzic. I believe that, in the future, he will play for a top club like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, Inter, Milan, Chelsea or Bayern themselves.”
Signing a 30-something superstar like Ibrahimovic, Totti or Sergio Aguero is one thing. Beating Bayern Munich, Milan, Juventus and Dortmund to one of Europe’s best young talents would perhaps be an even better reflection of how far Leeds have come in the Radrizzani era.