By George Overhill

30th Jan, 2023 | 12:40pm

Diego Llorente in Italy to complete Roma medical ahead of Leeds United exit

Diego Llorente is undergoing his medical in Rome ahead of a loan-to-buy exit from Leeds United, Sky Sports have reported.

The Spanish defender is set to be Jose Mourinho’s second signing of the January transfer window, and according to la Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy the move is already in its “final phase”.

It looks like the deal is set to be completed before the end of Monday, ahead of Tuesday’s 31 January transfer deadline.

The Athletic’s Phil Hay has reported that the Whites are expecting to insert an obligation into the loan deal that will see them recoup the £18million they originally paid for the 29-year-old, who surprisingly signed a new long-term deal at Elland Road on 23 December.

Llorente started the season in the XI alongside Robin Koch but eventually lost his place to captain Liam Cooper, who himself is now under threat from new arrival Max Wober.


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Hay had previously explained [The Phil Hay Show, 29 December, 13min 15sec] that the new contracts that Leeds United were handing out to anyone who could play at centre back was down to a belief that the transfer market was going to see their value increase, but even if that is true it seemed a stretch with Llorente.

That they appear to be about to strike a deal little over a month later that will see them get back everything they spent on the Spaniard is incredible.

Considering how calamitous the defence has been at times over the past year or more, and yet Llorente had still lost his place, is a testament to the fact that he has been a long way short of his best for some time.

Koch and Cooper largely haven’t been much better until the German looked transformed alongside new arrival Wober when the Austrian joined the line up, but Llorente has looked like he probably needed a move to rebuild his form somewhere else ever since the dying days of the Marcelo Bielsa era.

Getting anyone to cough up a fee that would make it happen seemed hopeful, so a renowned defensive management figure like Mourinho being willing to see this much be spent is certainly surprising.

Either the Portuguese can rejuvenate the struggling Spaniard to a point where he is a regular back in his international squad, in which case everybody wins, or the Special One’s time in Rome is coming to an end and he’s now entered his erratic phase.

It is a great deal for the Whites, and could be just what the player needs at this stage, with his prospects rabidly decreasing at Elland Road.

In other Leeds United news, a London club have made a late attempt to hijack a deal that appeared to be as good as tied up.