By Anthony Onifade

30th Jan, 2023 | 5:01pm

Spotted: Diego Llorente arrives in Italy ahead of Roma transfer from Leeds United

Leeds United defender Diego Llorente has been spotted at Italy’s Fiumicino airport as his move to AS Roma looks set to be completed in the coming hours.

Italian transfer journalist Fabrizio Romano [30 January] shared the rather unexpected transfer news that the Serie A giants were closing in on a deal for the Spanish international defender.

As shown by Gianluca Di Marzio on Monday evening, Llorente is in Roma at Fiumicino Airport.

Francesco Iucca shared Calcio Mercato’s video footage of Llorente at Rome’s biggest airport being mobbed by paparazzi as he got into a blacked-out cab.

The Spaniard has endured limited opportunities under Jesse Marsch at Elland Road so far this campaign, making just seven Premier League starts and 11 appearances in all competitions.

Italian journalist Angelo Mangiante reporting for Sky Sports News took to his personal Twitter account on Monday afternoon [30 January] to announce Llorente’s upcoming move, he tweeted:

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“Surprise hit of Roma. The club is finalizing the details for the arrival of Diego Llorente from Leeds.

“The Spanish defender moves on loan with the right to buy until the end of the season. Work is underway to file the final details between the clubs.”

And now the 29-year-old defender has been spotted at Fiumicino airport as his move to join Jose Mourinho in Rome edges closer.

Had to go

With Llorente deemed surplus to requirements under Marsch this season, playing just 11 games in all competitions, it’s only right that the Whites allow him to leave.

New signing Maximilian Wober, Robin Koch and Liam Cooper remain Marsch’s top options at centre-back this season, and the 29-year-old didn’t even start against League One side Accrington Stanley in the FA Cup at the weekend.

With the American coach preferring more younger and vibrant players in his defence, it was increasingly likely that Llorente had to go.

It is a great move for all parties involved, especially the Spanish defender as he goes in search of more opportunities elsewhere.

In other Leeds United news, visit our live transfer blog for around-the-clock updates straight from Elland Road.