Leeds United

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Exclusive: In-form star set to earn Leeds Utd deal – but Victor Orta prioritising two other signings first

Mohammed Salisu of Southampton and Rodrigo Moreno of Leeds Utd during the Premier League game at St Mary's Stadium

Leeds United look likely to offer Rodrigo Moreno a new deal to extend his stay by a year – but the club’s priorities lie in tying down two other stars first, TEAMtalk understands.

The Whites went into the international break with renewed vigour after a 4-2 win at Wolves on Saturday propelled them up the table. Going into the match at Molineux, Leeds were sat 19th. However, the victory lifted them five places up a congested Premier League table to 14th.

That takes their recent tally under new boss Javi Gracia to seven points from four games played. And they will hope to continue that momentum into their next game, away at league leaders Arsenal, when the Premier League resumes on April 1.

As such, Leeds will need to stay on their toes to maintain Premier League safety come the end of the season.

Their fourth goal at Molineux came courtesy of Rodrigo Moreno, who stepped off the bench to net his 11th Premier League goal of the season.

The Spaniard is enjoying his best season yet for Leeds following his then club-record £27m arrival from Valencia in summer 2020.

And with 13 goals to his name from just 24 games in all competitions, Leeds do have something of a dilemma over his future.

Indeed, the attacker, having recently turned 32, is now in the autumn of his career. And with his deal due to expire in summer 2024, Leeds will have to decide whether to extend his stay this summer.

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Leeds ready to offer Rodrigo contract extension

However, we can now reveal that Leeds are willing to extend his stay by a further 12 months, tying him to the club until 2025 and providing they secure Premier League safety.

That said, as Ben Jacobs explains, the Whites are giving priority to securing Jack Harrison and Robin Koch first.

“So Rodrigo is out of contract at the end of next season, and from the Leeds perspective they would like to keep him at the Club beyond June 2024,” Jacobs said. “But he is, of course, 32 years of age, which is always a consideration for any football club.

“I think that with Leeds, there’s a number of players, both from their perspective, financially, and also from the players point of view, that are obviously waiting to see whether Leeds stay up or go down.

“That will inform a lot, from a Leeds point of view. They can’t hang on to everybody if they’re relegated. And there are stars that just simply don’t want to play in the Championship!

“I think that when Leeds signed him – because of Rodrigo’s age – there was always a chance that he would leave when that contract would wind down.

“But this season has been his most productive since joining Leeds in 2020. He’s got 11 Premier League goals in 20 games, and I think 13 in all competitions. He’s only six goals off his best-ever tally in all competitions, which was 19 for Valencia in 2017/18.

Jack Harrison, Robin Koch the priorities for Leeds

“And that form has changed his perspective a little bit, even though he’s now in his thirties. The other thing about Rodrigo too is that he’s been out with injuries too this season.

“So now, he’s going to be very important to Leeds during the run-in. His goals might well be the difference between the club going down or staying up.”

Jacobs continued: “On form, Rodrigo deserves a new deal. But Leeds know that their priorities, though, are Robin Koch and Jack Harrison.

Harrison almost ended up leaving for Leicester City. He actually was at their training ground, waiting, even starting the medical, only to find that Leeds changed their mind.

“So tying Harrison down will be important, because his deal also expires in June 2024. And they are both better ages to give Leeds a long-term return.

“But Rodrigo has been basically Leeds’ most in-form player when fit. And it’s almost quite rare when you’re struggling to have a player that could get 15-plus Premier League goals this season. So if he does that and Leeds stay up, then those goals will make all of the difference.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if Leeds look to extend Rodrigo’s contracts by a year. He certainly deserves it based on the form that he’s in.

“And, as I understand it, if Leeds stay up, the player is quite prepared to stay as well.”

READ MORELeeds United in ‘advanced talks’ over signing, with Orta to agree deal regardless of season outcome