Yorkshire Evening Post journalist Graham Smyth has said that Leeds United never actually tabled a bid for Rodrigo De Paul this summer.
Instead, the media circus surrounding De Paul acted as a “smokescreen” to enable Leeds to get a deal done for Bayern Munich midfielder Michael Cuisance.
Writing in the YEP Smyth said, “While Rodrigo De Paul flirted with fans on social media and kept himself linked to Elland Road, Orta made discreet advances towards Bayern Munich for Michael Cuisance.
“A bid, Elland Road sources say, was never made for De Paul and although constant reports turned it into a bit of a sideshow, it acted as a smokescreen that allowed Leeds to get a deal done for a midfielder in relative peace and quiet.”
As for future business, Smyth said, “Just a winger remains now.”
Is this a case of Leeds rewriting history to make things look better?
Looking back, it actually seems there might be more than a hint of truth about this.
De Paul was the strongest transfer story all summer for Leeds and it really did seem as if Leeds had tabled, an admittedly lowball, offer.
Fabrizio Romano claimed that Leeds had bid more than once, albeit nowhere near Udinese’s valuation.
However, reputable sources, such as Phil Hay consistently said that while talks were taking place, no fee had been agreed between the two clubs.
Hay also said that there didn’t seem to be much desire on Leeds’ side to make the De Paul deal happen.
Towards the tail-end of September, Hay wrote, “Victor Orta has been speaking to Udinese about midfielder Rodrigo De Paul but despite the Argentinian’s apparent interest in moving to Elland Road, Leeds are reluctant to meet his Italian club’s £35 million valuation and in two minds as to whether to persist with talks.
“Sources indicate that the signing of De Paul is still some way from crossing the line, if indeed it ever does.”
Udinese director Pierpaolo Marino talked about the saga concerning Leeds on Wednesday as his side lost their second Serie A game of the season.
As quoted from Sky Sport Italia (via Football Italia), Marino was asked specifically about the Leeds interest and said, “We had some approaches from many clubs which were frankly not going to be taken seriously. The Pozzo family wants to keep hold of De Paul, a player who is a dream to see training every day and playing for Udinese.
“If the right bid hasn’t arrived yet, I sincerely doubt much will change over the next few days.”
Notice that Marino didn’t specifically say that Leeds had made an offer. And, if they did, it could well have been unrealistically low while they moved on Cuisance.
If it was all a ruse to keep Cuisance hidden in plain view, then it was an absolute masterstroke from Victor Orta.
In other Leeds United news, ‘It’s too late now’ – Club chief claims midfielder Leeds want to sign is not going anywhere