Leeds complete £18m centre-back signing as Bielsa ponders formation change

Leeds have confirmed the signing of Spain defender Diego Llorente from Real Sociedad for an undisclosed fee, thought to be £18million.

LaLiga side Sociedad announced the two clubs had agreed a transfer fee on Tuesday night and Llorente, 27, has agreed a four-year deal.

“Leeds United are delighted to announce the signing of defender Diego Llorente,” read a club statement.

“The 27-year-old joins the club from La Liga outfit Real Sociedad for an undisclosed fee.

“The defender has put pen to paper on a four-year deal at Elland Road, running until the summer of 2024.”

Llorente is Leeds’ fourth major signing since Marcelo Bielsa guided them back to the Premier League, and may prompt a switch to a back three.

Striker Rodrigo has arrived in a club-record £27million deal, centre-half Robin Koch was signed from Freiburg for a reported £13m and Helder Costa’s loan spell was turned into a permanent move.

Llorente, who has made five appearances for Spain, began his career at Real Madrid and moved on to Sociedad in 2017. Real are set to receive £4m as part of a sell-on claure in the deal.


He made 88 appearances in all competitions for Sociedad, scoring eight goals. Llorente also had loan spells at Rayo Vallecano and Malaga.

His latest appearance for Spain came in a 2-1 victory against Romania in May last year.

He was also named on the bench for the two Nations League games against Germany and Ukraine earlier this month.

The move will give Bielsa the option to play three at the back. United take on Manchester City on Saturday week and there are growing reports Bielsa will tweak his tactics for the game.

Either way, Llorente affords Leeds further options and competition for Liam Cooper and Robin Koch.



Leeds are reported to be contacted Inter Milan over a possible deal for unwanted midfielder Joao Mario.

The Portuguese star, who can play across the midfield, is back at the San Siro following a season-long loan with Lokomotiv Moscow.

However, Joao Mario has been told he has no future at Inter, who are willing to let him leave.

Antonio Conte’s side are said to be hoping for a cash deal but will consider a loan approach. His contract expires in summer 2022 and is expected to be allowed to leave for around €13m, reports O Jogo.

That has prompted interest from Newcastle United. West Ham, where the player spent the latter half of the 2017/18 season, are also in the running.

However, O Jogo reckons Leeds are also firmly in the running and could soon contact Inter over a potential deal. Read more…