Noel Whelan has heaped praise on Rodrigo de Paul as Leeds United prepare a second mega-money move for the Udinese midfielder.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Whites striker claimed the 26-year-old could take Marcelo Bielsa’s side to the next level on the evidence he has seen.

This site revealed last week that the Yorkshire club have continued to monitor De Paul’s situation closely and he is one of their top targets ahead of the summer transfer window.

The playmaker has contributed an impressive eight goals and 10 assists in 34 appearances this season for an Udinese side languishing 11th in Serie A.

The Italian outfit wanted £37million for De Paul last year but his price tag has likely dropped with one year less on his contract that runs until the summer of 2024.

When asked by Football Insider‘s Dylan Childs for his thoughts on a second move for De Paul, Whelan said: “We need another midfielder.

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“Someone with a bit of tenacity who can provide assists and goals. We need a player that is a level above what we currently have if we want to progress further.

“There has been so much talk about Rodrigo de Paul coming to Leeds last summer and I did not think for one second that he would be a player we forgot about. They seemed desperate to get him on board. It does not surprise me to hear we might be making a second move for him.

“What a player, he would definitely improve the team. I have seen clips of him and he has bags of energy, a great eye for a pass and can score a goal as well. He would provide really strong competition in the middle.

“I am sure the club recognise it is a position we need to strengthen in this summer.”

In other news, Leeds United tipped to sign striker after journalist’s “very confident” £18m man reveal.