Leeds have snapped up Spanish duo Alex Machuca and Adrian Balboa for the clubs under 23 side, who have arrived from the Spanish leagues.

Machuca, 19, has joined United from Rayo Vallecano (who compete in Spain’s second division) and plays as an attacking midfielder. The teenager was a shining light in Rayo’s youth setup, and Leeds’ director of football Victor Orta has been an admirer of the teenager for some time- with Orta attempting to bring Machuca to Middlesbrough when he was at the club a year ago. Machuca has been described as an ‘offensive midfielder with his greatest asset being his skilfull dribbling’. Despite only being 19 and coming to the clubs development side, Leeds would have still had to pay Vallecano a fee for Machuca as he was still under contract with the club- although he did reject a contract extension to make the switch to Elland Road.

Adrian Balboa, also 19, has come from a small side within Barcelona named UD Unificación Bellvitge and plays as a striker. The youngster was briefly linked with the club at the back end of last season, with previous assistant Pep Clotet supposedly impressed with his raw talent- with it being reported that Balboa had outscored every player of his age in the country in the 2016/17 season. Although Clotet has left the club and has now gone on to become Oxford United’s manager, Balboa has still chosen to join United and like Machuca would have joined for a fee after still being under contract with his former club.

Balboa and Machuca become the second and third Spanish additions to Leeds’ development squad this summer, with former Spain under 19 international Madger Gomes arriving from Liverpool earlier on in the transfer window. It is clear to see that Orta and owner Andrea Radrizzani are building for the future with these young development squad signings, and it may take a few years before they become first team regulars; although Gomes has travelled with the first team squad on their pre-season tour of Austria.

 

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