Fabrizio Romano has confirmed that Udinese midfielder Rodrigo De Paul is closing in on a move to Spanish champions Atletico Madrid.
What did Romano say about De Paul?
De Paul has been linked with Juventus and Liverpool in recent weeks, while Leeds have been long-term admirers of the Argentine as they tried to sign him last summer, and were linked again heading into the current transfer window.
However, they are now set to miss out on the creative midfielder, who is on the verge of joining Atletico for a fee in the region of €35m (£30m), according to Romano.
The transfer expert wrote on Twitter on Tuesday evening: "Atlético Madrid are already planning medicals for Rodrigo de Paul - deal almost done for €35m to Udinese, just final details to be completed then it’s gonna be signed."
Is it a surprise that Leeds have missed out on De Paul?
The 26-year-old has been linked with three of the biggest clubs in Europe in Atletico, Juventus and Liverpool, all of whom can offer him Champions League football next year.
Leeds had an excellent campaign in 2020/21 on their return to the Premier League, but they will not be competing in Europe next term, so it was always going to be difficult for them to persuade De Paul that a move to Elland Road would be the best choice for his career.
Why is De Paul such an in-demand player this summer?
The reason is simple: he was phenomenal in 2020/21.
De Paul stood out like a sore thumb in Udinese's team this year, racking up nine goals and 10 assists in Serie A to help the side to a 14th-placed finish.
In truth, he has been exceptional for a number of years now, as he has been directly involved in 48 goals in his last three league campaigns in Italy.
He has deserved a big move for a while, and he is now on the brink of getting it.
Who could Leeds turn to next after failing to land De Paul?
Missing out on De Paul may be disappointing for Leeds, but they have also been linked with some alternatives who they could now turn to instead.
Cagliari's Nahitan Nandez and Napoli's Eljif Elmas have both reportedly caught the eye of the Yorkshire-based club, while Harrison Reed, who was recently relegated with Fulham, has been identified as another player who could be brought in to bolster the side's midfield next year.
This suggests that although Leeds may have missed out on one long-term target this summer, they could still sign another high-class midfielder in the coming months and set themselves up for another strong campaign in 2021/22.News Now - Sport News