On transfer deadline day Leeds United made their eighth and final signing of the summer in the form of Excelsior winger Jordan Botaka.
I then did what I do every time Leeds sign a new player, and text my dad with the details. His response was short and predictable – “Who?”
This is where I then normally, without having to do much research, send him a message back with a brief history on the player and whether I think he’ll be any good. In the case of Jordan Botaka this is something I couldn’t do because I, along with most other Leeds United fans, was asking the same question as my dad – “who is Jordan Botaka?”
First things first he is a winger, exactly what we needed! He is 22 (a good age) and has a presence about him at over 6ft tall. He originates from Kinshasa which is the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (sure you already knew that). Astonishingly he played for six different youth teams, caused mainly from his parents moving to Antwerp in Belgium. With a number of clubs sniffing around and after trials at Lille and perhaps more interestingly Newcastle, he eventually signed a professional contract at Club Brugge. After a year at the club and a pointless loan move to Portugal, Botaka failed to make one senior appearance before a trial at Feyenoord led him to sign for their feeder club Excelsior, a move which would allow him to flourish.
Playing in the Dutch second tier, Botaka really thrived scoring 10 goals to help lead the club into the top flight. In the Eredivisie last year, he regularly impressed and helped the club survive relegation, prompting Leeds to sign him on the last day of the window for a reported £1 million (two-year deal).
So what can he offer to the current Leeds team? Well the first and most obvious asset is width, much like fellow new signing Stuart Dallas he loves to pick up the ball out wide and drive at defenders. However he is just not a push the ball forward and run sort of winger, he is much more than that and possesses excellent skill, trickery and mesmerises defenders with his quick feet. In Holland he has been nicknamed ‘The Wizard’, so United fans will be hoping to see some magic when he pulls on the white shirt.
The signing of Botaka rounded off probably the most satisfying transfer window at Elland Road for over a decade. As mentioned, eight players have signed with Sol Bamba, Chris Wood and Stuart Dallas all arriving for fees of over £1 million. The only potential problem that remains is at centre-back, but I’ve been impressed with Giuseppe Bellusci so far, I just hope he can maintain his good form. So for the first time in a long while things are looking good at Elland Road and maybe DR Congo international Botaka is the final piece in the jigsaw. I’ll be texting my dad about him at the end of the season, to which I hope there will be a reply of – “Jordan Botaka? Yeah great player that lad!”