Leeds United are reported to be keen on a deal for Cagliari midfielder Nahitan Nandez – and appear favourites to land his signature thanks to chairman Andrea Radrizzani.
United have just concluded a brilliant first season back in the Premier League securing a ninth-placed finish. That has left fans dreaming of what the club will do in the summer as they look to bridge that gap between themselves and the European places. And the signing of a new left-back and a new top-class midfielder appear top of their wishlist.
The need to bolster their midfield is an obvious one. Stuart Dallas has impressed in that role and swept the board at their player of the season awards. However, Leeds have looked light in that area whenever talisman Kalvin Phillips has been absent.
A host of names have been touted as potential midfield targets for Leeds. While Rodrigo De Paul continues to be a player of interest, his asking price appears too high. Indeed, chief executive Angus Kinnear silenced those claims with a pretty telling response recently.
Alternative options have seen Leeds linked with Fiorentina’s Erick Pulgar, rated in the €13m bracket. They were also said to have held an interest in Lille’s Boubakary Soumare, though he appears destined for Leicester.
They could, however, have found an answer in Cagliari star Nandez. The 25-year-old Uruguayan is viewed as one of Serie A’s best midfielders.
He helped his club comfortably avoid the drop this season, catching the eye with his displays in defensive midfield. Nandez can offer something going forwards too, having contributed two goals and two assists this season.
He has a €36m exit clause in his deal, so would not come cheap.
According to Calciomercato, the player is also of interest to Jose Mourinho’s Roma. However, Mourinho is reportedly chasing other targets with the former Spurs boss linked with Nemanja Matic and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
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Furthermore, the Italian outlet claims Cagliari owner Tommaso Giulini would rather sell to Leeds due to his strong relationship with Radrizzani.
As such, they reckon Leeds can convince Cagliari to sell Nandez to them for a fee of around £30m. That would represent a new club record for Leeds, beating the £26.7m paid to Valencia last summer for Rodrigo.
Raphinha closes door on Leeds exit talks
Leeds winger Raphinha, meanwhile, has strongly insisted his future lies at Elland Road amid links to Liverpool and Manchester United.
The Brazilian enjoyed a stellar debut season in the Premier League. Racking up six league goals and nine assists, the 24-year-old provided telling contributions on a regular basis to back up his all-round threat.
However, his standout season did not go unnoticed, with several of the league’s big hitters regularly credited with interest in prising him away from Elland Road.
“It is difficult to define how I feel when I hear speculation about giant teams like Liverpool and Manchester United being interested in signing me,” he told UOL Sport in Brazil.
“I grew up watching these teams on television. I saw Rooney, Van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo but I also saw Gerrard, as well as others like Henry, Deco, Lampard.
“Leeds was the one who bet on me. They are very happy, including the fans who seem to have a great affection for me.
“I have a contract for another four years and I don’t even think about leaving here for exactly this reason: I’m happy and I’m making others happy.”