Leeds United appear to be closing in on their third major splash of the summer transfer window as fresh reports emerged on Tuesday afternoon…
According to Sky Sports reporter Bryan Swanson, the Yorkshire giants are in ‘advanced talks’ with Real Sociedad over the permanent transfer of centre-back Diego Llorente.
Local news over in Spain believe the fee could be around €20m (£18m) with a small percentage owed to the 27-year-old’s former club, Real Madrid.
Llorente would join fellow Spaniard Rodrigo and defender Robin Koch at Elland Road.
This could be really smart business from the Whites as their defensive issues have been on display early on in their Premier League return having conceded a total seven goals to both Liverpool and Fulham.
Marcelo Bielsa lost Ben White to his parent club Brighton as well as Gaetano Berardi, who picked up a serious ACL injury, so the need for further reinforcements had already been clear.
In Llorente, the Argentine is getting an ideal fit for his system as the Sociedad man embodies the modern-day ball-playing centre-half – per WhoScored, he averaged 56.2 passes at an accuracy rate of 87.3% last term.
The 6 foot 1 colossus also managed 3.2 clearances, one tackle and one interception per appearance, too.
Smarterscout founder Dan Altman has likened Llorente to Man City duo John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi, speaking to the Yorkshire Post, he said:
“Diego Llorente was a bargain for Real Sociedad, coming from Real Madrid for just €7m (£6.4m) in 2017.
“He’s a very good tackler and overall defender at a Premier League standard. He’s a ball-playing centre back who can play either side, passing or taking the ball forward himself. His ball retention is excellent despite being mediocre in one-on-ones when he’s in possession.
“He’s great in the air on dead balls, but he struggles a bit in open play. In style, he’s quite similar to the Manchester City centre backs, John Stones on the right or Nicolás Otamendi on the left.”
Bielsa has sometimes opted for a three-at-the-back formation too and the fact that he can move into defensive midfield is also a huge bonus for those at Elland Road.
United may have stumbled upon a real find here.
AND in other news, Leeds to submit a second bid for Rodrigo De Paul alternative…