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Victor Orta seems to be pulling rabbits out of hats this transfer window, like he’s playing football manager but he’s got some mental cheat codes. Leeds were rumoured to be interested in Brentford’s Ollie Watkins but when it emerged Spain’s striker Rodrigo was available, Orta headed over to Valencia to get the deal done for £27 million. Brighton won’t sell Ben White to Leeds, no problem, he’s got German international Robin Koch lined up over on Freiberg for half the price. Rangers knock back Leeds’ first bit for Ryan Kent, not an issue, we’ll just switch our interest to Argentinean international attacking midfielder Rodrigo De Paul.
Born near Greater Buenos Aires, De Paul joined Racing Club's youth setup, going on to make 54 appearances, scoring 6 goals before a $6.5 million move to Valencia in 2014. De Paul made 31 appearances for Valencia, scoring 1 goal but was not in favour with manager Gary Neville. After a short loan spell back at Racing Club he made the move to Udinese in July 2016. He has excelled in his four seasons in Serie A, scoring 25 goals in 146 games, seven of those coming in the most recent Serie A season, in which he also provided six assists.
Hard working, an accurate passer, strong on key passes, through balls and dribbling and great on the counter-attack De Paul is an ideal Bielsa player. Originally operating out wide as a winger, De Paul has thrived in a more central No 10 role over the past year. The position has allowed him to maintain his levels of creativity, contribution towards more than a third of his sides league goals in the 2019-20 season. De Paul is also a full Argentina international having made 17 appearances and playing a key part in helping La Albiceleste to the semi-finals of the Copa América last year.
Of all the rabbits this seems the biggest trick to pull off. In the prime of his career, De Paul is hot property, considered to be one of the brightest talents in Italy with rumoured interest from AC Milan, Juventus, Napoli and Arsenal. With all that interest why would De Paul be interested in Leeds? Our trump card is of course Marcelo Bielsa, surely if anyone can convince an Argentina international to make the switch it is him! If the rumours are true and De Paul fancies the move Victor Orta will have a fierce negotiation on his hands with Udinese owners the Pozzo family, with them expecting in the region of £31 million for the midfielder.
Cream of the Championship? Forget it when you can bring in a Spain, Germany and Argentina international within the space of a week!
De Paul would be one hell of a signing
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Even the youth signings have been different class, players that could be future full internationals.
I have got a theory that this could be Bielsas final year with us, and he wants to make a real run at the Premiership this season. The board are going to back him with real quality signings to do the job, and rightly so. His task is adding real quality in the right areas whilst still showing faith in the lads that did the job last season. Another attacking option (De Paul), another defender, and perhaps another goalie would give us a really strong squad to pick from. Those long painful years are at an end, when we're talking about signing the likes of Koch, Rodrigo and De Paul, you know we're back were we belong