By Adefunmiloye Alani

15th Sep, 2021 | 9:10am

Rodrigo wanted Leeds stay amid loan offer from Barcelona on deadline day

Barcelona attempted to sign Leeds United attacker Rodrigo on loan on summer transfer deadline day but a deal was a non-starter, according to Phil Hay.

The nature of the interest of the Catalans in the Spain international, 30, among other reasons, made talks off from the get-go as the Whites were not ready to entertain an offer in the closing hours of the window.

The Athletic journalist reported on their website that Rodrigo had already made it clear to Leeds that he was ready for a second season in England, and Marcelo Bielsa was also committed to keeping him too.

Hay wrote: “Like most things at the Nou Camp these days, the interest Barcelona took in Rodrigo at the end of the recent transfer window was scattergun and haphazard. There were hours to go before the deadline when Leeds United received contact from Spain and even then Barcelona were talking about a loan. Last-ditch and doomed to fail, a plan with very high odds.

“The nature of the interest, among other reasons, made talks a non-starter. Loaning out a £27 million signing was nonsensical, it was too late in the window to think about replacing Rodrigo and in any case, he had already made it clear to Leeds that he was ready for a second season in England. Marcelo Bielsa was committed to keeping him too and the story died before it got going.”

Too little, too late?

The struggles of the Spaniard in his first season at Elland Road were clear for everyone to see, and Barca would have thought that the Yorkshire side would be keen on a deal.

The temptation to play for such a big club and in the Champions League despite Lionel Messi’s summer departure could have turned Rodrigo’s head, but their offer definitely came too late.

The former Valencia star joined Leeds in a £27million move last summer, and while he hit the right notes towards the closing stages of the campaign, his form for the large chunk of the season was way below par.

Rodrigo’s struggles have continued in 2021-22, and Bielsa was forced to remove him from action before the second-halves against Manchester United and Liverpool.

A return home was always going to be alluring, especially given the suitors in question, but it was too late in the window for Leeds to start thinking about replacing him, and a loan deal for a player that cost that much does not make sense.

The versatile player will now hope to turn his fortunes around like he eventually did last season, and the earlier he does, the better for him.

In other Leeds news, Orta contacted PL giants about Whites loan deal for exceptional centre-mid.