Leeds and Liverpool target Rodrigo De Paul says he blocked a January exit from Serie A side Udinese.
De Paul, 26, was a major target for Leeds ahead of their return to the Premier League. And Andrea Radrizzani was prepared to break the club’s transfer record for the Argentine.
However, despite hints from De Paul that he wanted the move, nothing went through.
After the summer transfer window shut in October, there were rumours that Leeds could relaunch their efforts to sign De Paul in January.
And once again the Whites were linked with the attacker, while Liverpool, Inter Milan and Juventus were also believed to be tracking him.
“New Year, New (sic) challenges. I’m ready,” he tweeted, which of course sent Leeds fans into a frenzy.
Leeds’ interest though appeared to go no further, although Todo Fichajes, reported Liverpool were in discussions with the player’s “environment”.
Corriere dello Sport were also adamant that De Paul was the man Jurgen Klopp had set his heart on.
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Udinese had set the price to Leeds at €35m in the summer. Liverpool’s interest, it seemed, has prompted a price hike from the Serie A side, with €40m is January price tag.
Inter’s interest also heightened with Tuttosport claiming Inter had five-goal De Paul “in their hands”.
The player though stayed put in Udine and has now claimed he never wanted to leave
“I don’t know when my last day here will be,” De Paul told Udinese TV via Football Italia.
“I will give everything for Udinese until that moment. There were many rumours about my future in January, but I immediately met the director to tell him I wanted to go nowhere.
“I closed doors for everyone, my daughter was born here, and my son is going to be born here, he will be Friulano.”
Liverpool watching Raphinha
Meanwhile, Liverpool are monitoring the progress of Leeds United attacking midfielder Raphinha, a report claims.
Raphinha has looked like a shrewd signing since joining Leeds from Rennes in the summer. The Brazilian has four goals and four assists in the Premier League so far, from 16 appearances.
He marked his most recent appearance with a goal against Everton, and provided assists in each of the two games before that.
The fee of £17m Leeds spent to sign him already looks like money well spent. However, if his current rate of progress continues, they might not be able to keep hold of him for much longer.
According to Football Insider, Premier League champions Liverpool are watching how Raphinha is developing.