By David Woods

20th Mar, 2020 | 11:38am

Report: Bielsa wanted departed ace to stay so much he promised to double value if Leeds kept him

Athletic journalist Phil Hay has said that Marcelo Bielsa wanted to keep hold of Ronaldo Vieira so much he promised to double the player’s value if Leeds United kept him.

However, Leeds needed the money to buy Patrick Bamford and he was sold to Sampdoria for a fee of £6.4m in the summer of 2018.

Bamford signed for just over £7m in the same transfer window.

Talking in a Q&A on the Athletic on Friday Hay said, “Bielsa liked Vieira – so much so that he recommended that Radrizzani keep him in 2018, rather than sell him to Sampdoria.

“Bielsa promised to double his value (but Leeds needed the money for Bamford).”

The 21-year-old was a promising talent when he was at Leeds and he’s now gone on to play 38 games for Sampdoria.

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This is a fascinating insight into how well regarded he actually was at the club.

More, it shows how Bielsa doesn’t get everything he wants at Leeds, with the decision made to sell him based purely on financials.

How would it have affected Leeds if Vieira had stayed? Kalvin Phillips has made the defensive midfield spot his own and Bielsa has way more than doubled his value.

Phillips had Premier League suitors after him in the summer but he signed a new contract with Leeds.

Vieira can play in a more advanced role and could have formed an incredible spine for Leeds.

We’ve seen what Bielsa can do to transform players and with his take on Vieira, we could now be looking at a mainstay of the current side.

In other Leeds United news, Exclusive: Paul Robinson – Leeds have ‘excellent’ signing in the bag as club in advanced talks