Former Leeds and Liverpool target Rodrigo De Paul is unhappy at Atletico Madrid and wants to return to Italy, claims a report.
LaLiga giants Atletico Madrid secured the capture of De Paul from Udinese in a €35m deal on a five-year contract last summer. There was interest from the Premier League with Liverpool and Leeds, who were particularly interested in a deal.
Atletico got the deal done and De Paul has gone on to make 43 appearances for the club in all competitions. He has only got two goals and two assists in that time.
Those stats are in stark contrast to his numbers at Udinese the previous season. The Argentine grabbed nine goals and earned 11 assists in 38 games.
Something has not clicked with De Paul at Atleti. And that has led La Gazzetta dello Sport to report that the player is “not happy” under Diego Simeone. And the outlet suggest that Inter Milan are keen on the former Valencia man.
De Paul has been deployed as a deep-lying midfielder for much of the season. Simeone has come under fire for using the Argentina playmaker in such a role.
He has been much more effective for the national side as a No 10, but Simeone sees it differently. Instead he has been given more defensive duties.
While off the pitch Marca have previously reported that De Paul has failed to integrate in the dressing room. Apparently he enjoys a good relationship with fellow Spanish-speaking South Americans, Luis Suarez and Angel Correa. But is not so close to the rest of the Atleti squad.
Diario AS also reported that a meeting of the club’s players saw all but De Paul agree to a pay cut in the case of failure to qualify for the Champions League.
Leeds priced out of De Paul transfer
He was later persuaded by the majority, but he had already made a stand. And now it appears the 39-cap international could be moving on after just 12 months.
Leeds were understood to have done extensive background checks on De Paul, but the fee proved out of their reach.
Leeds chief executive Angus Kinnear dampened down talk of a transfer to Elland Road for the player last June.
“If we had the money, I think we would just buy him, just to shut you guys up,” he told The Athletic journalist Phil Hay’s podcast.
“I don’t think that one has any legs.”