Will Lewis Cook be on the move this summer, or will the asking price continue to deter top flight clubs? The highly rated Leeds midfielder was under transfer bid during the January transfer window but Premier League offers were kept at bay by an ambitious price tag. With the end of the season fast approaching, interest in the 19-year old is stepping up once again.
According to reports released by The Sun earlier in the week, a duo of Premier League clubs are ready to battle it out for the signature of £10million-rated Leeds United midfielder Lewis Cook.
The teenage sensation has been attracting plenty of attention from England’s top tier of late, and his 35-yard wonder strike vs Fulham in February will have only invoked further interest from the league above.
The 19-year old is currently playing in just his 2nd season of senior football but has managed to rack up 71 league appearances nonetheless. This regular game time has no doubt done wonders for the England U19 player’s development and top flight clubs Everton and Stoke are keen to snap him up this summer.
Securing his services isn’t going to be a walk in the park, though. Steve Evans revealed that the club received a host of offers for the hot prospect during the January transfer window but Massimo Cellino was assured in stating that he wasn’t for sale. Premier League club Bournemouth were the latest to be rebuffed with a £5million bid turned away – Cellino demanding at least twice this fee for their academy product. The youngster’s current deal would take him up to the summer of 2017, but with Leeds currently sitting in the bottom half of the Championship, Cook won’t be against a move away from Elland Road.
A comparison between Lewis Cook and some of the Championship’s highest-rated U21 central midfielders gives you an idea as to what Premier League clubs would be getting with the Leeds player. As you can see pictured above, Cook’s pass completion for 2015/16 comes in at least 4% higher than the other 4 players. Whilst his average of 25 forward passes per 90 minutes also prevails with at least 2.4 more than any other player in the comparison. The defensive side of his game, however, can be subject to criticism on occasions – Cook ranking 4th in this comparison for tackles won with 1.67 per 90 minutes. Although his average interceptions count is slightly more promising, Maitland-Niles and Browne still comfortably beat the Leeds man by 0.82 & 1, respectively.
In terms of Lewis Cook’s career stats, we can break down the areas of his game into passing, defending & attacking aspects to analyse the per game averages of his 70 senior games. Starting with his passing, Cook currently holds a career pass completion rate of 77% with an average of 28.7 accurate passes and 1 key pass per game. The Yorkshire-born midfielder has also claimed 2 assists to date with 50% of these coming directly from crosses.
Defensively, Cook averages 2.2 successful tackles per game as well as 1.5 interceptions, although it’s worth noting he finished 2014/15 with 2 interceptions per game to his name. With just 0.6 clearances per game over the 70 game period, there are certainly indications that suggest Cook favours possession football with his desire to play out from defence highlighted here. Whilst an average of just 0.1 blocked shots per game also shows that his optimum position may be suited to a more advanced role.
The teenager only opened his senior goalscoring account this term but with the fashion he has scored in we can expect to see his reasonably tame 0.7 shots per game make a sharp increase in the near future. Whilst Cook completes an average of 1.2 dribbles per match his possession stats will need fine-tuning if he is to make the jump to England’s top tier. To date, he averages 1.8 dispossessions per game as well as 1.5 unsuccessful touches but it is worth considering his average of almost 2 poor touches per game in 2015/16.
Statistics aside, it is ultimately the capability Cook has shown making the seamless transition from Leeds United’s academy to a regular starter for the club. When also considering that no teenager has played more minutes of Championship football (2880) than Lewis Cook this season, it appears as though he’d be a promising prospect for Premier League clubs.
*stats sourced from whoscored.com