River Plate defender Lucas Martinez Quarta has emerged as a top summer target for Leeds, according to a report.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side are six points clear of third-placed Brentford with six games remaining of the season. They look a good bet at this stage to secure promotion back to the Premier League after a 16-year absence.
As such United are putting in place their summer recruitment plans should they secure their return. And director of football Victor Orta has been putting plans in place to ensure they’re ahead of the game when the window opens.
One of Leeds’ biggest issues this summer will be replacing key defender Ben White.
White has been a revelation at Elland Road this season after signing on a season’s loan from Brighton.
Having played every minute of Leeds’ promotion-chasing campaign, his partnership alongside Liam Cooper has seen Leeds concede just 33 goals.
Leeds have managed to tie White down for the Championship’s restart. However there are growing fears he won’t sign permanently with a number of suitors lurking.
White’s performances have attracted the attentions of Liverpool, with one outlet suggesting he’d be a perfect Dejan Lovren replacement. That’s despite Reds scouts identifying one major flaw in the defender’s game.
Hopes of a deal have been raised, however, with Brighton said to have placed a £35m asking price on the defender.
Leeds, of course, will push to sign White first and foremost were they to secure promotion.
But should they miss out on the Brighton man, Sport Witness claims Martinez Quarta has emerged as a genuine Plan B.
The 24-year-old has emerged as one of River Plate’s star turns over the past two seasons with Orta closely tracking his progress. He also has two caps for Argentina, having broken into their senior ranks earlier this season.
It’s claimed Bielsa is also well aware of Martinez Quarta and would welcome his potential arrival at Leeds.
The report states the Buenos Aires side, however, will need to sell some of their leading lights this summer due to financial constraints.
As such, it’s stated they have put a €25m (£22.5m) asking price on his head.
Any deal, however, would depend entirely on United’s promotion to the Premier League and, quite possibly, what becomes of White.
It is not known whether Leeds would try to sign Martinez Quarta were they to secure White for a second season. Either way, then it seems Leeds are at least identifying alternatives were they to miss out.
Pundit names ‘perfect’ Pablo Hernandez
Martinez Quarta might not be the only Argentinian moving to Elland Road this summer either.
That’s after Noel Whelan has earmarked Norwich star Emiliano Buendia as the perfect replacement for the ageing Pablo Hernandez.
“He could be the man to replace Pablo long-term but I’m sure [director of football, Victor] Orta will be looking at many options.
“There will be a number of players considered for that number 10 position to give Pablo the help he needs to get through a season.
“He is going to need help. He will not be able to play every game at the top level.
“Buendia has done very well at Norwich.
“It is a crucial position, number 10, whoever plays there is your Diego Maradona. They have to be creative, score goals, take set pieces – he is your ace in the pack.
“In the Premier League you need a real magician in there. Someone like Pablo but a bit younger.”