By Craig Scott

20th Sep, 2020 | 5:21pm

Leeds set sights on No 10 amid Rodrigo De Paul frustration, will cost almost 50% less - report

Leeds United have set their sights on Atalanta and Ukraine midfielder Ruslan Malinovskyi amid frustration in their bid to land Udinese star Rodrigo De Paul, according to Telegraph journalist Mike McGrath.

Writing via the Telegraph’s website, McGrath reported that Leeds are yet to agree a fee with Udinese for the Argentina midfielder and Marcelo Bielsa wants someone new in the attacking midfield area to compete with Pablo Hernandez.

De Paul, 26, is reportedly valued at £36.8million (€40million) [Fabrizio Romano] by Udinese but it is understood that Malinovskyi, 27, would represent a cheaper option as he’s valued at £20million by Atalanta.

Malinovskyi scored nine goals and supplied seven assists in 44 appearances across all competitions for Atalanta last season, with one of those goals coming in the Champions League against Manchester City.

The former Genk star played a massive role in helping Atalanta defy the odds to reach the Champions League quarter-finals before an unfortunate 2-1 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain. He also helped them finish third in last season’s Serie A.

Malinovskyi is very much a number 10, based on his heatmap on the WyScout website with him averaging 51.66 passes, 5.84 dribbles and 3.8 shots at goal per 90 minutes of football in all competitions last season.

Malinovskyi also had an xG of 0.29 and xA of 0.2 per 90 minutes, which show that the Ukrainian ace is very capable of both scoring and setting up goals for his team-mates.

It looks as though he would be a very good signing for Leeds, based on the numbers and he’s available for almost half the price of what Udinese are demanding for De Paul.

De Paul is clearly keen on Leeds based on his social media activity and we have no doubt that the Argentinean would be a strong addition to the side.

But if Udinese are going to be tough to deal with and demand too much money, Malinovskyi would be a decent plan B.

In other Leeds United news, a player who rejected the Whites could be set to do a U-turn on that decision.