Udinese sporting director Pasquale Marino has said that midfielder Rodrigo de Paul has the “characteristics” to take his future club to the “next level”.
De Paul’s next destination became the subject of intense speculation during the January transfer window.
Indeed, Liverpool and Leeds both supposedly entertained an interest in the 26-year-old. But while no transfer materialised for the Argentina international, he could well be on the move in the summer.
The Reds could be looking to replace Georginio Wijnaldum, whose contract continues to run down. Leeds, meanwhile, did not bring in a recognised midfield signing upon their return to the Premier League.
Speaking to Radio 24 in Italy, Marino has said that De Paul would go a long way to improving both teams.
“He has characteristics that many top clubs in Europe are missing,” the sporting director said.
“I hope it doesn’t happen, but whoever signs him next summer will raise their team to a different level.”
As well as clubs in England, De Paul has also attracted attention from elsewhere in Serie A, with Inter keen.
However, he recently spoke out about choosing to reject the proposition of a move away in January.
He said: “I don’t know when my last day here will be.
“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.”
De Paul has scored 30 goals and assisted 28 others in 168 games for Udinese.
Leeds warned of sale to Liverpool
Meanwhile, Noel Whelan has warned Leeds about letting winger Raphinha leave, amid the reported transfer interest in him.
The October signing from Lille has added significantly to the Whites’ attack and has shown fantastic form of late.
But amid supposed interest from Liverpool, Whelan has warned that the Brazilian’s sale would be a “travesty”.