Newcastle United and Leeds United are reportedly set to go up against each other in the race to sign 23-year-old Ecuadorian midfielder Jose Cifuentes.

According to The Sun, Newcastle United and Leeds United are involved in a tug of war against each other to secure the services of in-demand 23-year-old LAFC midfielder Jose Cifuentes in the summer transfer window.

The 23-year-old has impressed in the MLS on a consistent basis. Two years after coming close to moving to the Premier League, he could be about to get his opportunity. A full international for the Ecuadorian national team, Cifuentes is now eligible to move to Europe.

A central midfielder by trade, Cifuentes can thrive in both offensive and defensive roles. This makes him an all-action player capable of holding his own in the competitive setup of the Premier League. At 23, he is ready to take his talents up a notch and would be a promising addition for most top-flight outfits.

Leeds United and Newcastle United have both experienced strong starts to the season, with each team picking up seven points apiece in their first three games. With just days to go before the summer transfer window closes, there is still enough time for either side to add the finishing touches to their transfer business.

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Leeds United lost Kalvin Phillips to Manchester City and could do with a dominant replacement. Brenden Aaronson has already proven his worth at Elland Road, and adding Cifuentes alongside him will give Jesse Marsch a solid base in midfield. By avoiding the midfield from getting overrun, the Whites will be better able to incorporate the pass and move style that Marsch likes to employ.

Eddie Howe has had a similar impact at St. James’ Park and could do with a reliable player alongside Bruno Guimaraes. A solid defensive operator who is capable of playing his way out of trouble, Cifuentes has an excellent eye for a pass and can carve out opposition defences with his feet. The 23-year-old would be the perfect addition to what has been a rather underwhelming but solid summer by Newcastle.

Cifuentes is almost assured of a spot in Ecuador’s World Cup squad later this year. Shining on the world stage will only alert more clubs to the in-demand 23-year-old’s talents. Newcastle United and Leeds United have an opportunity to beat the competition to Cifuentes, and it could all come down to who makes LAFC an offer they cannot refuse.

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