Rodrigo de Paul back on Leeds United radar as Whites’ key figure plans ‘declaration’ transfer

Atletico’s Rodrigo de Paul Credit: PA Images

Leeds United are said to be back in the mix for Rodrigo de Paul after failing to land the central midfielder in the summer of 2020.

De Paul had just completed an exceptional season with Udinese in Italy, where he had become their talisman. Despite Leeds’ best efforts, the 28-year-old will spend another season at the Serie A club before joining Atletico Madrid in July 2021.

Reports put the transfer fee at just under £30m, with De Paul sign a five-year contract at the Wanda Metropolitano.

39-time Argentina international De Paul failed to make the desired impact in his first season with Atletico.

Only four goals and two assists in 48 appearances. Moreover, De Paul has to compete with Koke, Yannick Carrasco and Geoffrey Kondogbia for a place in Diego Simeone’s midfield.

And with Saul Niguez set to return from loan at Chelsea, De Paul could fall further down the pecking order.

According to transfer insider Dean Jones, Leeds could capitalize on the situation by resuming talks to sign the playmaker.

Jones says Leeds director of football Victor Orta remains an “admirer” of De Paul. As such, the chief could make a ‘statement’ at Elland Road by ensnaring him at Atletico.

Leeds set to return for Rodrigo de Paul

“They’ve been trying to get it since 2020,” Jones wrote for GiveMeSport. “And although he is part of an Atletico Madrid team that has higher ambitions than Leeds at the moment, his production has dropped this season. He might just fancy a switch.

“Victor Orta is a fan and this could be the kind of statement Leeds are looking to make before big investments arrive at the end of the year. It won’t be easy, but it’s worth dreaming about. .

The West Yorkshire side have already signed American midfielder Brenden Aaronson from Red Bull Salzburg. Pairing him with De Paul next season would be an exciting move.

However, Leeds would have to overcome several hurdles first. De Paul is unlikely to want to drop out of the Champions League. He will continue to get it if he stays with Atletico.

Leeds have just avoided relegation this season, so the South American will need convincing to join.

Moreover, Atletico officials may want to give De Paul another year under Simeone before making a firm decision on his future. After all, he only arrived last summer and needs time to blossom.

Meanwhile, Chelsea could have a big impact on Barcelona’s pursuit of Leeds winger Raphinha.

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