Leeds transfers: Which Serie A midfielder should Leeds try to sign this summer? - The Verdict

Udinese midfielder and Leeds target Rodrigo De Paul in action

Leeds have been handed a boost in their pursuit of long-term target Nahitan Nandez as the midfielder could be cheaper than first anticipated, as reported by Calciomercato.

Nandez has been tracked by Leeds for some time now, with Tuttomercatoweb reporting in March 2019 that the club were considering an audacious bid for the midfielder.

Back then, Leeds were still in the Championship, and Nandez opted to join Serie A side Cagliari that summer instead. However, having now established themselves back in the Premier League, Leeds may have more luck in securing the signature of the 25-year-old this time around.

And they may be able to land him for a reasonable price. Nandez has a €36m (£30.9m) release clause, but Cagliari’s president Tommaso Giulini is reportedly willing to listen to lower offers. Leeds’ majority owner Andrea Radrizzani also has an excellent relationship with Giulini, suggesting that Marcelo Bielsa’s side are well-positioned to sign Nandez.

They do have another Serie A midfielder who they could sign, though. Leeds are believed to be interested in Rodrigo De Paul, who they were also monitoring last summer. Udinese reportedly want €40m (£34.5m) for their prized asset, indicating that he would be more expensive than Nandez.

It seems unlikely that Leeds will be able to sign both players, so who should they choose: Nandez or De Paul?

GIVEMESPORT’s Sam Brookes, Christy Malyan, Joshua Cole and Jonathan Gorrie give their thoughts below…

Sam Brookes

“Rodrigo De Paul is the real deal.

“The Argentine international has been in spectacular form this season, registering nine goals and 10 assists while in Serie A action. Udinese finished the campaign seven points above the relegation zone, and De Paul played a massive part in securing their safety.

“Having just turned 27, he seems to be right at the top of his game. He may well be more expensive than Nandez, and it could be argued that the Cagliari man offers greater versatility as he can play out wide and in central midfield, but De Paul is just too good to overlook.

“A midfield trio of Kalvin Phillips, Stuart Dallas and De Paul would be outstanding to watch, and would make Leeds an even more formidable proposition next season than they have been this year.”

Christy Malyan

“Few would doubt that De Paul is the more eye-catching talent, having played in a wealth of attacking positions throughout his career and finished this term with 19 goal involvements in Serie A.

“But there’s just something about Nandez that makes me think he’d quickly surpass expectations at Elland Road, even if he does arrive somewhat in De Paul’s shadow.

“First of all is the fact he’s basically been Cagliari’s saviour this season and driven the team almost single-handed during the tail-end of the campaign, earning a glowing endorsement from journalist Mina Rzouki.

“But then there’s also his style of play. If De Paul is pure silk, Nandez is like both parts of a Velcro fastening – one side is smooth to run your fingers across, the other is as rough and prickly as it gets.

“Indeed, sliding challenges are a trademark of his and while Leeds fans may not like the idea of signing a player who goes to ground so easily, its an insight into Nandez’s mindset. He wants to win every challenge and chase every ball, even if it sometimes lands him in trouble.

“Considering the sheer physical intensity required to thrive at Leeds right now, I think that makes Nandez a great fit for Bielsa.”

Joshua Cole

“With Leeds looking to force their way into contention for a top six place in the coming years, it could be argued that they need to spend a considerable amount of money to have the best chance of achieving this goal.

“Whilst there is no doubting Nandez’s ability, the Whites should be prioritising a move for De Paul who has all the credentials needed to become the next Pablo Hernandez at Elland Road.

“As well as being directly involved in 20 goals in all competitions this season, the Argentine averaged a club-high WhoScored match rating of 7.41.

“Although it could take a significant bid to lure De Paul away from Udinese, Leeds ought to splash the cash on him as his presence at Elland Road could take the club to new heights.”

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Jonathan Gorrie

“While De Paul would certainly be an eye-catching addition, the post-pandemic nature of this summer’s market would surely make Nandez a more realistic option.

“Valued at £22.5m by Transfermarkt, the Uruguayan looks ideal in acting as cover and competition in equal measure for Kalvin Phillips.

“Averaging 1.8 tackles per game (via WhoScored), the tenacious midfielder also carries the ball well (averaging 1.2 dribbles) and registers a key pass on average too.

“That sort of profile would suggest he’s capable of making an impact going both forwards and backwards, which could potentially fit into Marcelo Bielsa’s high-intensity style.

“De Paul, meanwhile, has been valued at €40m and been linked with the likes of Liverpool, so getting him surely won’t be easy.

“As a cheaper option to potentially come in and pad out the squad next season without breaking the bank, Nandez looks a much better buy.”

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