Leeds, who are usually painfully slow when it comes to getting deals over the line at this time of year, are already well down the line with this transfer for Wöber.
Fabrizio Romano reported yesterday that a deal was close with agreements in place on both the side of the player and the two clubs. In addition to that, he claims the fee will be in the region of €12m (£10.6m).
Wöber is a left-sided defender capable of playing at both centre-back and left-back, very much in the same mould as Pascal Struijk and Leo Hjelde currently at the club. However, the Salzburg captain has been playing the majority of his football this season at full-back and is considered as the left-back signing Marsch wanted this month.
The Yorkshire Evening Post have been looking at why Leeds have targeted the 24-year-old and who he could replace or compete with in the current side. They concluded it’s essentially, Liam Cooper, Pascal Struijk and the ousted Junior Firpo he will be challenging for a place in the side with.
“It’s becoming increasingly likely that Victor Orta’s first foray into the January transfer window will complete the signing of RB Salzburg’s Maximilian Wöber. The centre-back, who has featured mainly at left-back for Marsch’s former club this season, would be the third player to make the switch from Red Bull Arena to Elland Road, following Rasmus Kristensen and (Brenden) Aaronson through the door.
“Leeds believe the Salzburg captain will bolster the left side of Marsch’s defence, providing competition for Pascal Struijk and Junior Firpo at left-back, and Cooper and Struijk at centre-back, and consider his price more than reasonable.”
Wöber has experience of the Austrian Bundesliga and La Liga, having had a spell with Sevilla earlier in his career. He’s also had plenty of Champions League and Europa League exposure during his time in Austria, having played in the competitions 38 times in total.
Whilst Wöber isn’t a traditional left-back, he’s got experience of playing there and experience of playing there in a Red Bull system. That could be invaluable and, after a period of adapting like Kristensen has had on the other side, it could be a worthwhile addition in both the mid-term and long-term.
Mid-term he will offer Leeds some expertise and know-how on that side of the back-four, giving Marsch the option to start evolving the team beyond Liam Cooper.
Struijk or Wöber will likely cover left-back or centre-back at times this season, essentially phasing the club captain out in a way they have with Luke Ayling at right-back.
Cooper has a role to play this season and beyond at Leeds, but Marsch needs to think about the future as well as the present. This transfer allows him to do both for a very reasonable fee.
As for Firpo, your gut-feeling tells you that this is another move to push him further down the pecking order at Elland Road.