Leeds United are still chasing long-term target Rodrigo De Paul. The Udinese attack-minded midfielder has been on Leeds’ radar for a while, but the Whites are reluctant to meet the Italian club’s £35 million price tag. However, with little over two weeks before the transfer window shuts, Leeds United chairman Andrea Radrizzani has confirmed that additional funds are there if Marcelo Bielsa requires it. According to Phil Hay of The Athletic, an extra £35-50 million will be made available if needs be.
De Paul is supposedly interested in the move and the opportunity to play in the Premier League. However, a deal is still a long way from being completed. It is expected that Leeds will now look for alternatives, but will still try to negotiate a better deal for their primary target.
What Would Rodrigo De Paul Bring to Leeds United
Versatile Option Across the Midfield
By trade, De Paul is an exciting attacking midfielder who possesses a creative spark. However, as he has matured as a player, he has become increasingly versatile. He has often had to adapt to Udinese’s change of tactics within a game and play in several positions over the 90 minutes.
Previous to last season, De Paul never really got consistent in game-time in one position. He had spells on the left and right wings, as well as more advanced central roles.
However, in the 2019/20 campaign, the 26-year-old was primarily deployed as a central midfielder. Despite, playing in a deeper role, he still was involved in the majority of Udinese’s forward play. De Paul even played as a holding midfielder in a win against Juventus. His performance against the Old Lady subsequently lead to brief speculation over a move to Turin.
The Stats Back the Argentine Up
No Udinese player has been involved in more goals than De Paul in the last three seasons as he continues to set the pace for players coming in. The Argentine managed to score seven goals and provide six assists last season which, considering his more defensive position, were brilliant statistics.
When the midfielder played in a more attacking role in the 2018/19 campaign, his statistics were up there with the best. No midfielder in Serie A that season scored more goals from outside the box than De Paul’s four. He also ranked seventh in successful dribbles with 2.31 per 90 minutes. The Argentine, in addition, assisted ten goals in the last campaign, which was the second-highest of any midfielder.
Defensive and Midfield Recruitment Primarily Targeted by Leeds United
The recruitment team are continuing to scour the market in areas that they deem thin at Elland Road. Central defenders and midfielders that can operate both centrally and out-wide remain their priority.
The Yorkshire Club have been dealt a major blow with 18-year-old target Josko Gvardiol. The centre-back was close to sealing a £20 million move to Leeds from Dinamo Zagreb, before refusing the contract late on. According to Fabrizio Romano, RB Leipzig are now leading the chase for the 18-year-old. The German club are expected to finalise the deal in the coming days.
In terms of bolstering their options out-wide, Leeds have been looking at two key individuals. Rangers winger Ryan Kent has caught the eye at Elland Road. However, their rejected £10 million bid for the 23-year-old is yet to be followed up.
The Whites have also reignited their interest in Manchester United winger Dan James. The Welshman, who was close to sealing a deadline day move to Leeds, has re-emerged as a loan target for Marcelo Bielsa’s side.