Premier League match ball at Elland Road. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Leeds United transfer news: Whites target 'among the best in the world', Radrizzani plots potential empire

Leeds United’s reported interest in Rodrigo De Paul was one of the transfer sagas of last summer.

By Jason Jones
Friday, 19th February 2021, 2:58 pm

The Udinese midfielder was heavily-linked with a move to Elland Road as the Whites geared themselves up for a long-awaited return to the top flight, but a deal failed to materialise.

That hasn't stopped speculation from swirling, however, and the prospect of him finally sealing a switch to Yorkshire has been mooted on more than one occasion.

In fact, former Leeds striker Noel Whelan even went as far as to suggest that a deal could have been completed last month – again to no avail.

But as the summer rolls around once more, don’t be surprised to see De Paul linked with a sensational move to the Whites by gossip columns across the continent.

According to Watford’s director of football, Cristiano Giaretta, Leeds would be getting an elite player if they decide to pursue a deal too.

Giaretta’s close links withe the Pozzo family also means that he is closely associated with Udinese, and he has been singing De Paul’s praises massively.

Speaking to Tutto Mercato Web, he said: “He feels like a leader.

"He is a captain on and off the pitch and for me he is even among the strongest players in the world.

"We’ll see what will come in the summer: certainly in front of certain requests, you can’t ignore it, but for now he’s only concentrated on Udinese”.

Those are big words from the Hornets chief, but the stats would suggest that he might have a point.

According to Whoscored, the Argentinean is currently the 14th-highest-rated player in the whole of Serie A, and the highest-rated Udinese player by some distance.

In terms of those above him, we're talking about players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Romelu Lukaku, and his average match rating of 7.32 would make him the 13th-highest-rated player in the Premier League – level with Raheem Sterling and better than any Leeds talent this term.

Elsewhere, football finance expert Kieran Maguire has suggested that Andrea Radrizzani could be making tentative attempts to build himself a footballing empire – and it could benefit Leeds massively.

According to a report from Tutto C last week, the Whites owner has made “exploratory contact” over a potential move to buyout Italian side Palermo.

There are certainly parallels to be drawn between the Sicilian club and Leeds too.

Currently languishing in Serie C, Palermo were playing European football at the beginning of the millennium, only to plummet down the divisions after encountering financial issues. Sound familiar, Leeds fans?

And speaking to Football Insider, Maguire argued that any potential deal could actually benefit Leeds' recruitment situation.

He said: "“As far as Radrizzani is concerned, Leeds is always going to be the mothership.

“The advantage of acquiring a club such as Palermo is that you can use it to help the overall recruitment within the group.

“One impact of Brexit is that you cannot recruit players at the ages of 16 and 17 from the EU anymore. But if you own Palermo you can use the club as your hub for the young players coming into the Leeds United Football Group, or whatever it’s going to be called.”

We’ve gathered the rest of this afternoon’s Premier League gossip below:

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