Udinese director Pierpaolo Marino has admitted that Argentine midfielder and Leeds United target Rodrigo De Paul is likely to leave the Serie A outfit this summer.
The 26-year-old is also wanted by Italian sides Inter Milan, Juventus, AC Milan, AS Roma and Napoli, and more suitors could emerge for his signature in the summer.
Leeds wanted De Paul last summer, and the player was also keen on a move, dropping a huge hint on social media by saying “yes” to an Elland Road move.
Udinese’s €40 million asking price proved too steep for Marcelo Bielsa’s side, but it appears that the club could finally allow him to leave should he insist on it.
“Obviously, he is a player whose name is on everyone’s lips,” Marino told DAZN (via football.italia).
“We have the desire and strength to keep him, but if an opportunity he can’t refuse arrives, we couldn’t hold him back.”
With nine goals and nine assists to his name in 36 league games in 2020-21, the Argentina international has the quality to help Leeds push for a top-six finish next term.
The Whites ended the Premier League campaign in ninth place, and squad-bolstering additions this summer could help them become better going forward.
De Paul is aware of Leeds’ interest and could be keen to work with Bielsa after the birth of his child prevented him from relocating his family last year.
Leeds chief executive Angus Kinnear has claimed the club would buy the midfielder if they had the money, but Marino’s recent comments could now encourage them.
Leeds are still in talks for Rodrigo de Paul. “If the right bid will not be made [by #LUFC], he’d be also happy to stay here”, Udinese director Marino said.
Leeds also made a new bid [until June 2024] to Gvardiol to reach an agreement on personal terms. He’s not convinced yet
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) September 18, 2020
Last September, he insisted suitors would not be able to sign De Paul if they did not table the right bid, but he has changed his tune, and whether that would inspire Leeds to return to the negotiations table remains to be seen.