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- Location: Leeds
The Leeds United rumour mill is hotting up this bank holiday despite Phil Hay suggesting Leeds may ‘keep their powder dry’ following the signings of Spain striker Rodrigo and Germany centre back Robin Koch. But Sunday night saw two Italian sports journalists, Fabrizio Romano and Gianluca Di Marzio, who have a combined 2.6 million followers on Twitter first linking Leeds with Argentina midfielder Rodrigo De Paul and Dinamo Zagreb’s Croation defender Josko Gvardiol. These are no ‘in the know’ chancers, Romano is about as well connected as any football journalist in Italy and Di Marzio had the inside track on the Rodrigo deal from Andrea Radrizzani.
De Paul is a hard working, accurate passing, counter-attacking midfielder, an ideal Bielsa player. Originally operating as a winger, he has thrived in a more central role over the past year. The position has allowed him to maintain his levels of creativity, contributing in more than of Udinese’s league goals last season. He has excelled in his four seasons in Serie A, scoring 25 goals in 146 games, seven of those coming in the most recent season, in which he also provided six assists. 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. Considered to be one of the brightest talents in Italy with rumoured interest from AC Milan, Juventus and Napoli, he is hot property with a price tag of around £31 million.
If De Paul is in the prime of his career Josko Gvardiol, at only 18, is only just starting out but already highly rated with interest from Bayern Munich. Gvardiol is a central defender by trade but can also play left back. The 18-year-old already made his debut for his league debut for Dinamo Zagreb’s first team back in October and has made 11 senior appearances, scoring 1 goal. Gvardiol is under contract to Zagreb until 2022 and as one of their brightest prospects they are not prepared to let him go without a fight and a fee in the region of £18 million has been mentioned. Leeds have been keen to strengthen with younger players this window and there is no doubt more cover in defence is required but this seems like a substantial fee for a relatively unproven 18-year-old. That said, Di Marzio seems to think a deal will be in place within the week.
If both of these deals come to fruition it would bring Leeds spending to £110 million, on a par with this summers big spenders Manchester City and Chelsea. Are Leeds recklessly splashing the Premier League cash, has Andrea Radrizzani found a few quid down the sofa or have Leeds had a sudden injection of cash in the background? Whatever the answer, Leeds are certainly going for it this transfer window and we continue to be linked with top prospects by reliable journalists.
I'm liking Rodrigo II more and more, the more I hear about him