Head of European recruitment Gaby Ruiz has confirmed Leeds United held talks about trying to sign Rodrigo De Paul from Udinese in the summer.
De Paul, 27, was linked with a move to Elland Road throughout the last transfer window but it was widely reported that Leeds did not push forward with a deal due to Udinese’s high asking-fee for the Argentina international.
Sky Sports Italy journalist Fabrizio Romano reported in early September that the Serie A club wanted £36.8million (€40million) for the midfielder.
More recently, Yorkshire Evening Post journalist Graham Smyth has said it’s unlikely that Leeds will make a renewed attempt to sign De Paul in the January transfer window but Ruiz has now come out to confirm that the Argentine was someone who the Yorkshire club considered after winning promotion.
Speaking to Italian football website TuttoMercatoWeb, the Leeds recruitment expert said: “There was actually some contact. We talked about it, but then we decided to focus on other options.”
De Paul made it pretty clear that he wanted to join Leeds United in the last transfer window based on his well-publish social media activity.
He wanted Leeds and Leeds wanted him but Udinese, understandably, didn’t want to lose their star midfielder.
De Paul has made eight appearances in all competitions for the Serie A club this season, scoring one goal and supplying two assists in the process as well as wearing the captain’s armband in his last three outings.
According to stats by WyScout, De Paul ranks second in Serie A for expected assists [3.43] while the Argentine also boasts the best one-v-one dribbling success rate in the Italian top-flight at 77.08 per cent.
De Paul is also ranked first in Serie A for progressive runs  and joint-second for the number of key passes completed .
Leeds ended their pursuit of De Paul due to Udinese’s valuation of the midfielder but that £36.8million fee would have been a huge bargain based on how well he’s done this season.
De Paul is standing out as the best central midfielder in Italian football and that is exactly the kind of player you want to see Leeds United signing.
YEP journalist Smyth doesn’t a deal happening in January and Marcelo Bielsa is hardly keen on signing outfield players in the middle of the season.
But if he’s going to buck the trend for anyone, it’s a no-brainer for it to be De Paul.