Inter Milan have seemingly won the race for Rodrigo De Paul despite links with the likes of Liverpool and Leeds.
De Paul was a top target for Leeds over the summer, and appeared to be keen on a move to Elland Road.
However, having already broken their transfer record once in 2020, Leeds could not meet Udinese’s asking price. Hence, the midfielder stayed with the Serie A club.
The form he has shown for them over the past few seasons suggests he is capable of stepping up a level, though. Indeed, he recently hinted he was “ready to play with anyone”.
Therefore, a departure from Udinese should occur in 2021. Leeds’ hopes of signing him may be fading though, as Real Madrid and Liverpool have joined the race.
But it seems De Paul’s future is more likely to be in Italy – just with a different club. According to Tuttosport, Inter have De Paul “in their hands”.
The Milan-based club have all-but agreed a deal to sign De Paul in the summer. They have been chasing him since December 2019, but focused on right-back Achraf Hakimi instead in the summer.
Now, their attention has turned back to De Paul. And according to Tuttosport, it would take “cataclysms” for them not to sign him in the summer.
However, they could act even earlier. If Christian Eriksen leaves this month – as he is expected to – then Inter could bring forward their plans for De Paul.
Eriksen has not fit in at Inter since joining from Tottenham last January. Just one year later, he is ready to leave the club.
There have been rumours of a potential return to Tottenham, although there may be complications in finding an agreement. Spurs want him back on loan, whereas Inter are looking for a permanent sale.
But if Eriksen can secure a move – to Spurs or elsewhere – then Inter would look to replace him immediately with De Paul.
The Argentina international seems to have made his final decision and it should spell disappointment for his suitors in the Premier League.
Liverpool line up Inter star
Should they miss out on De Paul, Liverpool could turn to someone already at Inter to strengthen their midfield.
The champions may need a replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum if the Dutchman leaves for Barcelona – as it appears he wants to.
De Paul had been a prime option to fill the void but another contender – according to Calciomercato – would be Nicolo Barella.
The former Cagliari star has established himself as one of Italy’s best midfielders and has comfortably stepped up to Inter’s level. The Serie A giants would be reluctant to sell him, but it depends on their financial situation.
Liverpool could firm up their interest in the 23-year-old, who has been compared to Steven Gerrard. However, they could face competition from Tottenham.