Leeds United

Leeds United

Premier League • England

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

Rodrigo de Paul of Atletico

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

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

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

De Paul, a 39-time Argentina international, has failed to have the desired impact during his debut season with Atletico.

Just four goals and two assists have come his way in 48 appearances. Plus, De Paul is having to compete with the likes of Koke, Yannick Carrasco and Geoffrey Kondogbia for a spot in Diego Simeone’s midfield.

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

According to transfer insider Dean Jones, Leeds might capitalise on the situation by re-entering discussions to sign the playmaker.

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

Leeds tipped to return for Rodrigo de Paul

“They have been trying to get him since 2020,” Jones wrote for GiveMeSport. “And while he is part of an Atletico Madrid side that have higher ambitions than Leeds right now, his output dropped this season. He just might fancy a switch.

“Victor Orta is an admirer and this could be the sort of statement Leeds look to make before big investment comes at the back end of the year. It won’t be easy – but he’s worth dreaming about.”

The West Yorkshire side have already brought in USA midfielder Brenden Aaronson from Red Bull Salzburg. Partnering him with De Paul next season would be an exciting move.

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

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

In addition, 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 flourish.

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