Milan concede defeat as Leeds, Liverpool muscle way nearer €40m star

Rodrigo de Paul, Lucas Paqueta, Argentina v Brazil

AC Milan are reported to have thrown in the towel in the race to sign Rodrigo De Paul this summer amid claims the Udinese star is destined for England.

The Udinese star was strongly linked with Leeds last summer as they prepared for their return to the Premier League. His asking price of €35m was too steep for the Yorkshire side, meaning a bid never materialised. However, they continue to be linked and he remains a player of interest to Marcelo Bielsa’s side.

However, there is strong interest from Liverpool too. Jurgen Klopp’s side are in the market for a replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum. A deal for De Paul would change their midfield dynamic, but that could prove a huge positive given this season’s fall from grace.

The pair, however, are not alone in their admiration for De Paul. There is also strong interest within Serie A with Juventus, Inter and Milan all keen. With nine goals and 10 assists in 34 Serie A matches this season it’s easy to see why he’s a man in demand.

Milan see De Paul as their ideal replacement for Hakan Calhanoglu, who is poised to leave the San Siro on a free transfer. It’s reported by Il Milanista that De Paul is the top choice of technical director Paolo Maldini.

However, they state his asking price, now at €40m, represents something of a major problem and a fee that is beyond their reach. It’s a similar case with both Juve and Inter, who would need to sell before they can buy.

And as per Il Milanista, that has opened the door up for both Liverpool and Leeds. The article claims the Premier League pair would have no issue stumping up the cash. Furthermore, they are both said to be looking to sweeten the deal for Udinese by including some of their talented youngsters as part of the deal.

While it’s not stated whether that’s on a loan or permanent basis, it’s claimed Udinese are open to the idea.

Furthermore, Udinese would rather their star man joined an overseas club as opposed strengthening a Serie A rival.

De Paul too, it’s stated, is said to be open to the idea of moving to the Premier League.

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Udinese boss admits De Paul could leave

Hopes of a transfer for De Paul have been given a further boost after Udinese manager Luca Gotti admitted he would not be shocked if the star moved on.

Speaking to DAZN, he said: “De Paul has been here for five years. Every time he gets his head down and works harder than ever before. We’ll eventually sit down and work out a common strategy [on his future].

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“He is mentally so strong as he goes on international duty with Argentina. He shares a locker room with players from Barcelona, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain. Yet every time he comes back here to Udine and works harder than anyone.

“You couldn’t blame him for being tempted (by a move away).

“Alongside the growth of the player, which everyone has been able to witness on the pitch, I also saw De Paul grow as a person over the last two years.

“He has this leadership within the squad that comes from a place of positivity. There are different ways to be a leader, some are authoritarian. But he has this sort of halo of positivity that spreads out and envelops everyone around him.”

READ MORE: Klopp puts skids on talk over Liverpool exits; outlines summer transfer plans