Leeds United are ready to bid farewell to one of their defenders this summer amid claims the player has made it clear his wish to quit the club this summer.
The Whites are currently embroiled in a frentic nine-team battle for survival in the Premier League this season. Currently sat 16th and two points clear of the drop zone, their goal difference has taken a battering in recent weeks after heavy losses to Arsenal and Crystal Palace.
And they could find themselves back in the bottom three once again prior to kick-off against Liverpool in their next game on Monday night.
Relegation from the Premier League would come as a catastrophic financial blow for Leeds. It would also mean a number of big-name stars would likely be moved on with the club needing to shift some of their high earners.
Safety, however, would allow Leeds to build once again. They have in place plans to make Weston McKennie’s loan move permanent. And other big-name targets are likely to be identified as the club looks to consolidate their place in the Premier League.
Regardless of their divisional status next season, a number of changes will be made anyway. Jack Harrison has already commited to a new deal, extending his stay until 2027.
But decisions will also be need to be made on the likes of Robin Koch, Rodrigo, Liam Cooper, Stuart Dallas and Luke Ayling. Leeds are keen to tie down Koch and Rodrigo to new deals, but there is more uncertainty surrounding the latter three.
Indeed, all five players all have deals expiring in summer 2024, leaving Leeds with some major decisions to make.
Diego Llorente keen to leave Leeds
Another player who has already close to sealing a permanent exit is Diego Llorente.
The Spain defender was an £18m signing from Real Sociedad in summer 2020. He endured a topsy-turvy time at Elland Road, before departing on loan for Roma in the January window.
That move, for an initial six months, offers Roma an option to make the move permanent. And Leeds may well claim back the £18m for which they paid for Llorente in the first place if the deal goes through.
Now it seems those transfer chances are enhancing. That’s reports from Italy claimed Llorente has expressed his wish to make the move permanent.
After a shaky start at Roma, Llorente has now established himself as a trusted member of Jose Mourinho’s side.
Per Forza Roma, the 29-year-old has told friends he is desperate to seal a move to the Italian capital permanently.
And while Roma too are also keen, they are now keen to secure a reduction on the initial £18m fee agreed with Leeds.
They write: ‘Roma are already studying how to redeem him without obviously reaching the £18million established in January when Mourinho indicated him as reinforcement for a defence that can no longer count on Kumbulla.
‘To anyone who asked him about his stay, he answered without a doubt: “I’m fine here, I’d like it”.’
Roma want reduced fee for Llorente
Roma, however, while keen to make Llorente’s move permanent, are hoping to negotiate a reduced fee with Leeds.
And it turns out that a clause in the contract would allow for a reduction in the asking price were Leeds to suffer relegation.
Even if they survive, Roma still hope to pay Leeds and it may need some tough negotiating on the price.
Discussing the fee, the report continues: ‘A lot also depends on the epilogue of the English championship. Leeds, in fact, are in full swing to safety and have just two points more than the third-bottom Everton and Nottingham Forest.
‘In case of relegation, the price would automatically drop. Roma’s goal is not to exceed €10m (£8.7m).’
Regardless of safety or relegation, Llorente has clearly played his last game for Leeds.
He will depart Elland Road having appeared in 59 games over two and a half seasons, scoring four goals.