Whelan: Leeds signing of De Paul is on the cards after '20 personal terms agreed
Leeds United will almost certainly revisit a move to sign Udinese playmaker Rodrigo De Paul this summer, according to Noel Whelan.
The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested a new midfielder would would make a “massive difference” to the squad ahead of next season, with the 26-year-old already a known target of Marcelo Bielsa.
As revealed by Football Insider last summer, Leeds had agreed personal terms with the Udinese midfielder but the prospective move failed to materialise as the clubs failed to agree on transfer terms.
Leeds also saw a move for Bayern Munich’s Michael Cuisance fall through at the medical stage which meant the Whites failed to recruit a midfielder before the transfer deadline.
A creative midfielder able to push up into an advanced role, De Paul has contributed five goals and two assists in 20 Serie A appearances for Udinese this term.
Whelan believes competition is needed for Mateusz Klich at Elland Road and suggested the 19-cap Argentina international would be targeted once again.
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Asked if a midfielder needed to be a priority signing this summer, Whelan told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “I think that playmaker, that bit of physicality in the midfield – I’m not talking about Rodrigo because I think he’s that number 10, that’s what we brought him in for, he’s that replacement for Pablo.
“I think if you go back into Klich’s position, we’ve seen that his season has been a little bit tiresome in performances at times and been sitting on the bench, given that bit of a break that he probably needs because he’s been ever-present, I do think we need more competition and quality in that area.
“I think that would make a massive difference. You see the rotation these days with big teams, they’ve got groups of midfield players that can rotate from game to game and give them that little bit of respite.
“Maybe someone else in there that we can turn to will give Klich that little bit of rest that he needs, take a bit of pressure off his shoulders and we might see the best of both of them, given that kind of competition for places.
“Rodrigo De Paul has been mentioned many times, that’s not going to go away, that is still going to rumble, I’m sure it’s still on the cards – once Marcelo Bielsa makes his mind up and pinpoints a player, generally he kind of sticks to that.
“I do expect to see much more movement in that position come the summertime because I think we’ve now seen that we need that quality in there.
“Pablo, he’s not there really, he’s coming on for 10, 15 minute cameos, so we need more quality, we need more international quality in that area.”