Costly Leeds Utd star could leave in 2023 as insider raises financial concern over new deal
Leeds United could sell Rodrigo next summer as an expert on the club has brought up several reasons why they might not offer him a new contract.
Rodrigo penned a four-year deal when joining Leeds from Spanish club Valencia in August 2020. According to BBC Sport, the transfer was worth £26million (€29m), making the forward the most expensive player in Leeds’ history.
Rodrigo struggled during his first two years at Elland Road, but he has enjoyed a new lease of life under Jesse Marsch recently.
The American coach went with Rodrigo up front amid Patrick Bamford’s injury. And Rodrigo did brilliantly in the opening weeks of the campaign, registering four goals and one assist in five Premier League matches.
He captained the Whites in consecutive games against Chelsea, Brighton and Everton. However, the 31-year-old was forced off with a shoulder injury against the Toffees.
He challenged Jordan Pickford for the ball but came off worse than the goalkeeper as he dislocated his shoulder.
Rodrigo is now facing a lengthy period on the sidelines. Luckily for Marsch, Bamford is now back fit and featured against both Everton and Brentford.
However, it is a massive blow for both Rodrigo and Leeds that the Spaniard will be out for the next few weeks. He was emerging into Leeds’ talisman and was finally looking like he was worth the £26m the club spent on him.
Rodrigo will not require surgery on his shoulder, which is a big boost. And he will be hoping to get back to his best once returning to the pitch.
Rodrigo Leeds future comes into question
However, a reporter has cast Rodrigo’s Leeds future into doubt. According to the Yorkshire Evening Post’s chief football writer, Graham Smyth, Leeds might not extend the attacker’s contract.
“Rodrigo will be 33 by the time his contract runs out at Elland Road,” Smyth said (via CaughtOffside).
“Given his issues with niggles and the fact that his first two seasons were so difficult and inconsistent, I would be surprised if there was talk of a new deal any time soon.
“He looks after himself as a model pro by all accounts but the intensity of Premier League football under Marcelo Bielsa and then Jesse Marsch will take a toll. He would be an expensive one to do, as well, and the wage bill at Leeds has already undergone a serious uplift in recent times.”
Rodrigo’s current deal runs until June 2024. If Leeds opt not to extend his terms, then they are highly likely to put him on the transfer market next summer.
This would prevent him from running down his contract and potentially leaving on a free in two years’ time.
Smyth suggests the West Yorkshire side could let Rodrigo go due to his lack of consistency and big salary.
This makes sense, as Leeds will be confident in their ability to find a more reliable striker. Getting Rodrigo off their wage bill next year could also allow them to bring in a younger goalscorer with higher potential.
Star aiming for immediate return to form
There are a few reasons why Leeds will want the star to get back firing once he returns. This would help them massively in their quest to move up the Premier League table.
It would also increase Rodrigo’s transfer value, allowing them to sell him for a higher fee in 2023.
The Brazil-born forward should have a few suitors if he does become eligible for transfer. He has won 27 caps for Spain in his career. Plus, he has Champions League experience from his time at Valencia.
Perhaps a switch back to La Liga could take place if Leeds do decide to part ways with Rodrigo.
Meanwhile, Diego Llorente is being backed to reverse his sorry form in the Leeds United defence by Tony Dorigo – but one major weakness in the Spaniard’s armoury has been identified.