Why Sheffield United should sign this promising midfielder for a six figure fee – Opinion

Sheffield United have previously been linked with Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Marc Leonard. The 22-year-old has spent two years on loan with Northampton Town, helping the Cobblers gain promotion from League Two in his first campaign.

Leonard has certainly pulled up some trees during his successful spell at Northampton having proven he can not only play as a deep midfielder or as an attacking midfielder, but, he’s also shown his reliability; the former Scottish youth international has played all but one league game during his time with Northampton.

Now, that is quite impressive in itself when you consider he will have had to play Saturday – Tuesday most weeks.

The Blades had their injury struggles all season long and it is something they are looking to address this summer from within the club. They could also help their poor fitness record by acquiring players like Leonard who have clean injury records over the last few years. As opposed to relying on someone like Tom Davies who has struggled with fitness over the same period.

Northampton Town boss on Marc Leonard

Marc Leonard has recently be described as “one of the best” players to ever play for Northampton Town by Cobblers manager Jon Brady. He added: “In my time here and from knowing the Cobblers over the years, I’d say he has probably been one of the best players to ever wear a Cobblers shirt.”

“What [Leonard and Kieron Bowie} have added to us with their ability and their attitude, they have been a manager’s dream. They’ve played 80, 90 games each over the two seasons and helped us get promotion, it’s absolutely fantastic,” via the Argus.

Football Insider has claimed Sheffield Untied could sign Leonard for as little as £300k this summer with Brighton willing to let him go. If the figure is correct, I think the Blades should snap him up because he does have genuine potential to be a Premier League player in the future.

Why Sheffield United should sign Marc Leonard

The Blades will attempt a massive reconstruction job this summer under their new recruitment team. It is imperative the Blades bring in some experienced players to help balance out the squad. But, promising players such as Marc Leonard and Harrison Burrows should be snapped up at a discounted price.

Although the 22-year-old has registered just six goals and seven assists in 97 games for Northampton, his performance metrics have been eye-catching to say the least.

Recently, on Twitter, I posted a comparison pizza chart between Cameron Brannagan, who has just been promoted to the Championship with Oxford United, and the United-linked midfielder Marc Leonard.

On that data viz, Leonard is the orange colour – while you can see Brannagan outperforms him in most metrics, Leonard isn’t really that far off the former Liverpool player. And given Brannagan is one of the most experienced midfielders in the league, for Leonard’s first League One campaign that is a very bright showing.

The metrics that stand out to me are his xAssists (expected assists) where he ranks in the 77th percentile among his League One peers. He also ranks 74th and 65th in terms of progressive passes and progressive carries, and while they aren’t outrageously high, it does show he can beat the press and carry his team forward in more than one way.

Lastly, he will give the Sheffield United midfield that competitive edge; he ranked in the 86th percentile for defensive duels won and 75th in interceptions – overshadowing Brannagan in both categories which is some feat considering Brannagan is known for his combative work in the middle of the park.

Tags Marc Leonard