Italian outlet Il Messaggero Veneto has reported that Leicester are readying an offer “very close” to the £36m asking price for Rodrigo De Paul amid strong Leeds United interest. 

It was reported that Leicester had entered the race for De Paul on Sunday evening by journalist Gianluigi Longari.

The new report repeats the claim that Udinese owner Gino Pozzo won’t take less than £36m (€40m) for the midfielder who is expected to leave this summer.

It claims that Leeds have made an offer that’s been rejected and that they haven’t come back with a bid that hits the player’s valuation.

The report also claims that Leicester are now set to table a bid “very close to Pozzo’s request”.

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Smoke and mirrors?

The report from Il Messaggero Veneto claims that De Paul still wants a club that can offer Champions League football, but that doesn’t seem to be materialising for him.

Leicester are in the Europa League after finishing fifth but they can still offer European football – something that Leeds can’t do.

On Tuesday, Phil Hay said that the Leeds move for De Paul is “still up in the air” and added that there’s no rush on their side to push for more signings yet.

He said they wanted a centre-back and a striker as a priority and have already completed moves for Rodrigo and Robin Koch, who hooked up with Marcelo Bielsa on Monday.

It could well be that the two clubs are playing a game of brinksmanship, with Leeds not wanting to pay the full asking price and Udinese looking to create more interest in their player.

The transfer window is open until the beginning of October so there’s no imperative for either side to push things.

Udinese don’t start their Serie A season until the end of September, although De Paul has been dropped from the squad for both of their pre-season friendlies so far.

In other Leeds United news, Phil Hay: New Leeds forward signing set to play tonight as Bielsa gives youth chance to shine

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