Revealed: How close Leeds came to signing Nile Ranger

Nile Ranger.
Nile Ranger.
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LEEDS United were close to signing Nile Ranger in the summer.

The free-agent striker reportedly watched the Whites take on Mansfield Town in a pre-season friendly at Field Mill on July 22 under the guise of then boss David Hockaday.

Thirty seven days later, Hockaday was sacked on August 28 - and barely three months after witnessing the Whites at Mansfield, Ranger could come face to face with the team that nearly employed him on Saturday.

But the stats indicate that United have not missed out in overlooking Ranger who has managed just one goal from 464 Championship minutes of football in a Blackpool shirt.

Ranger’s stats don’t make for great reading at Blackpool as in those 464 minutes of football the 23-year-old has only had nine shots at goal.

Comparatively, Leeds United’s Italian recruit Mirco Antenucci has had four times as many attempts at goal - 36 - in less than three times the amount of game time Ranger has experienced.

Anteucci has played 1,141 minutes of league football for Leeds this season, incorporating 13 games and four goals.

Yet it is neither Ranger or Antennuci that head into this weekend as their side’s top scorer with Nathan Delfouneso and Ishmael Miller top of the Blackpool charts with just two goals apiece.

Souleymane Doukara tops the Leeds tally with five though two of those came in the League Cup.

Delfouneso has played 1,231 minutes of league football for Blackpool this term, managing 21 shots on target and two goals.

But it is Miller who more often buys a ticket to win the lottery with 36 shots on target from just 1,175 minutes played.

That’s the same as Anteucci so expect him to be trying his luck frequently on Saturday, especially with confidence buoyed by his second-minute opener in Wednesday night’s 2-2 draw at Fulham.

Doukara - whose stats are based solely on his Championship appearances - has played 912 minutes of football with 19 shots and three goals.

Let’s be honest, none of it is prolific.

So step forward Alex Mowatt.

Mowatt, a midfielder remember, has played 797 minutes of football but managed 16 shots which is comparable with any of the aforementioned strikers.

Crucially, though, in the league at least, Mowatt has outscored all of them with four goals already.

Neil Redfearn wants the midfielder to get into double figures in the goals charts this season and with shots to minutes ratios like this, the midfielder is on his way.

Leeds didn’t need Ranger and both Doukara and Antenucci have proved better acquisitions with the promise of better to come.

And then there’s hidden gem Mowatt - who might just be half way to reaching double figures by tomorrow afternoon.