Leeds United have turned their attention to Atalanta midfielder Ruslan Malinovskyi as an alternative to Rodrigo De Paul, according to reports.
Leeds have been heavily linked with Udinese playmaker De Paul in recent weeks, but are yet to reach an agreement over his price tag. He would likely cost them a club record sum just weeks after they made Rodrigo Moreno their most expensive ever player.
De Paul is still keen to make the switch to Elland Road. However, Leeds are now having to look for alternatives.
According to The Telegraph, their plan B could also be from Serie A. Mike McGrath says Leeds are keeping an eye on Atalanta’s Malinovskyi.
Malinovskyi joined Atalanta from Genk last summer, and helped them secure Champions League qualification again, having played in the same tournament for them last season.
Across all competitions, the Ukraine international made 44 appearances and scored nine goals.
Now, his performances could have earned him another move. It is claimed that Leeds have identified him as a cheaper alternative to De Paul.
Malinovskyi would cost around £20m, whereas Udinese want more than £30m for De Paul.
Marcelo Bielsa is keen to add fresher competition for Pablo Hernandez in attacking midfield. While Hernandez remains a useful player at the age of 35, Leeds need a younger alternative.
Malinovskyi could be that man if they can’t sign De Paul. At 27 years old, the Shakhtar Donetsk youth product is in the prime of his career.
He remains under contract at Atalanta until 2024, but reports last month suggested the Bergamo side could cash in on him given how quickly his market value has soared.
Atalanta signed Malinovskyi for around £12.5m last summer, but he is now worth around double that.
Italian sources claim Leeds have won race for De Paul
However, there may not be a need for Leeds to sign Malinovskyi if they sign De Paul.
There have been some fears about other teams competing for the Argentine international, but reports in Italy claim Leeds have now won the race.
With Udinese under pressure to sell, they may accept a lower offer for their star player.