By Craig Scott

28th Jan, 2022 | 4:30pm

Leeds United will only allow Rodrigo join Barcelona for mega-money - Phil Hay

Phil Hay has effectively ruled out the possibility of Leeds United allowing Rodrigo to leave before the transfer deadline – unless a “mega-money” offer is made.

Mundo Deportivo reported on Thursday morning (27 January) that Rodrigo, 30, has been offered to Barcelona with the Leeds striker eager to increase the number of minutes he gets on the pitch.

It is understood that he wants to play enough to be able to be in the running for the Spain squad for the World Cup later this year.

However, The Athletic journalist Hay suggests that Leeds will not get rid of Rodrigo before the transfer deadline on Monday unless a big offer is made.

“One of the interesting things this morning (Thursday, 27 January) was that the Rodrigo-Barcelona link has been thrown up again,” said Hay on The Phil Hay Show podcast on 28 January.

“You’ll remember in the summer that they had a very, very late go at getting him on loan and were knocked back by Leeds. Rodrigo didn’t want to go, Leeds didn’t want to let him go.

“It seems incredibly difficult at this stage to imagine how on earth that deal would work for Leeds unless they got mega-money and were able to use it elsewhere.

“But that’s one of those that doesn’t really go away.”

We need him

Whether you rate Rodrigo or not, there’s no denying the fact that Marcelo Bielsa cannot afford to lose any more senior players without new faces being brought in first.

Imagine if Leeds let Rodrigo leave between now and the 31 January deadline and don’t manage to sign a replacement.

That would be disastrous.

Rodrigo is still one of Leeds’ big-money players and he still has a role to play in this team, whether it’s up front as a nine or behind whoever is playing as a striker.

He’s not done anywhere near as well as we would have hoped but the Spain international has had to battle with injuries, COVID and the unexpected form of Patrick Bamford in the Premier League.

Rodrigo finished last season strongly so we’re going to cling onto the fact that he could do it again for Leeds this term as they bid to stay in the Premier League and avoid going anywhere near a proper relegation battle.

Barca’s interest may arise again in the summer and as long as they don’t leave it late – as they seemingly have this window and in the last one – then the Whites could be more receptive to a deal.

In other Leeds United news, a legal issue could derail the Whites’ hopes of securing a last-ditch signing.