QPR want to sign Australia winger Matthew Leckie from German club Ingolstadt, West London Sport revealed on Wednesday.
Leckie, 25, featured in the World Cup in Brazil two years ago and has played in Germany for the last five years, having had spells at Borussia Mönchengladbach and FSV Frankfurt before joining Ingolstadt in 2014.
What kind of player is he? And what could Rangers fans expect if he ends up moving to Loftus Road.
Leckie was born in Melbourne but made his name at Adelaide United, where he made his debut as an 18-year-old in 2009. His blistering pace, energy and direct – albeit somewhat raw – style made him a handful for A-League defences so it was only a matter of time before a European team came calling. German side Borussia Monchengladbach secured his services in 2011.
That speed and athleticism weren’t enough to earn him a regular first-team spot with Monchengladbach and he was loaned out to Bundesliga 2 side FSF Frankfurt – a move he made permanent in 2013 after almost helping them to promotion to the top flight. He moved again at the start of 2014, to Ingolstadt. Since then he has helped them reach the German top flight for the first time in their history and played a key role in ensuring mid-table stability for a team tipped to go straight back down.
He made his Australia debut in 2013 but really came of age at the World Cup, where he played in all three group matches, against Chile, Holland and Spain.
Against eventual finalists the Netherlands, Leckie had a superb game, although he spurned a chance to give his side a 3-2 lead when he missed a sitter from close range. The Dutch scored from their next attack to win the game and send the Socceroos out of the tournament. A year later, Leckie, along with QPR’s Massimo Luongo, helped Australia win the Asian Cup with a 2-1 win over South Korea.
As well as being blessed with serious pace, he is good on the ball and always willing to take on his man. Leckie plays off the shoulder well when used through the middle and his time in Germany has knocked off some rough edges to his game. At 25, he should now be hitting the best years of his career.
He usually has the speed to get himself out of trouble, but against top defenders he can sometimes be nullified. He has often been guilty of a lack of composure and there have been question marks about his technique in front of goal. However, he did grab the winner in Australia’s recent 1-0 win over Greece – only his third international goal in 32 games.
So could he cut it in England?
He has a style that would be well suited to English football, and he can comfortably play wide or through the middle. Some comparisons with Gareth Ainsworth can be drawn, although he is better on the ball than the former QPR winger. He is a scorer of good goals rather than a good goalscorer. And, given his speed and toughness, some believe he could even have a future as a raiding full-back.
Ian McCullough is a senior sports writer for Australian Associated Press’ London bureau.