Leeds United

Leeds United

Premier League • England

Leeds backed to sign new No 10 who will usurp Rodrigo from Bielsa plans

James Marshment
Mohammed Salisu and Leeds United's Rodrigo battle for the ball during Southampton v Leeds Premier League clash at St Mary's

Leeds United will be bringing in an elite player and an upgrade on the struggling Rodrigo Moreno if they pursue a reported target ahead of the January window, claims one observer.

Victor Orta and Leeds looked like they had landed a real coup when they shelled out a club-record fee for Rodrigo in summer 2020. However, the Spain international has struggled to find his best form on a consistent basis. As a result, the £26.7m signing from Valencia finds his place in the Leeds side under the spotlight.

Rodrigo did score seven times, also claiming two assist,s in 26 appearances for Leeds last season. But in nine appearances this year, he’s yet to have a goal involvement. Playing as a central striker, he struggled to impose himself during Saturday’s woeful 1-0 defeat at Southampton.

And now it seems Leeds are looking for an upgrade in January. Indeed, Rodrigo has played in a deeper attacking role for the majority of his time at Leeds. And it seems Marcelo Bielsa and Co have already set their sights on a prospective new No 10 in Ross Barkley.

Barkley spent last season on loan at Aston Villa after falling down the pecking order at Chelsea. All three of his appearances since returning to his parent club have come from the bench. It seems he has little time left in west London.

The midfielder was named as a Burnley target recently in a January loan move that could revive his career.

However, as per reports earlier this week, Barkley is also the subject of interest from both Leeds and Newcastle.

Leeds had Barkley on loan during part of the 2012-13 season, when he was still owned by Everton. The midfielder made just four appearances in the Championship, though, under then-boss Neil Warnock.

Nearly a decade on, he has experienced a range of highs and lows since. Even after his slide down the Chelsea hierarchy, he is a better player now than he was then.

As such, former Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish reckons Barkley would be an astute addition for Leeds in January.

“He’s got the quality. There’s no doubt about it,” McLeish told Football Insider.

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“He has the quality and is a good name to pluck out of who’s available.

“Rodrigo is a good player, there’s no doubt. You just don’t bring players to Leeds if they’re not of that level.

“But Barkley’s got the experience and also the confidence to help other players in the team. He’s never really made himself a permanent fixture.

“Could he do that at Leeds? They certainly could be doing with a wee spark.”

Agents discuss valuation of Raphinha

Meanwhile, two of Brazil’s leading football agents have been debating the fee Raphinha would fetch in the modern market.

The Brazil star continues to build on his burgeoning reputation with Leeds this season. Three goals in seven Premier League appearances have shot the 24-year-old on to the international stage. He was called up by Brazil recently for their triple header with Venezuela, Colombia and Uruguay and did not disappoint.

Raphinha was a half-time sub against Venezuela and provided two assists. He then got a half-hour run-out against Colombia before starting against Uruguay and scoring twice.

That will have already impacted his value and his agent has already hinted that his man may well be looking to move on.

Now his represtative Deco has spoken out once again on his client’s future.

This time, the former Chelsea player has stuck an apparent price on Raphinha’s head were Leeds to sell him next summer.

In doing so, he’s also questioned the website Transfermarkt’s valuation of €32m on the 24-year-old star.

“I don’t know how they do it. To be honest, I don’t understand Transfermarkt’s evaluations,” Deco told UOL. “I think now it should go up.”

Meanwhile, another Brazilian agent Eduardo Uram reckons Raphinha would fetch just over £50m in the modern market.

“I think today he’s worth more than €32m. What will determine the price is the level of the club that signs him. If it’s Manchester United, City, Liverpool, Chelsea, the price could reach around €60m. What determines the price of a player is the market he hits.”

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