For Leeds United, last summer was all about two Rodrigo’s. One was from Spain and the other from Argentina. Coincidentally, the duo are both very similar individuals too.
The dynamic midfielder was a staunch target for Leeds and the midfielder even teased the club’s supporters over a move on social media.
Unfortunately, the creative maestro ended up having a price tag too big for Andrea Radrizzani’s coffers. Their interest hasn’t dwindled though and with three straight defeats to bring in 2021, the need for more fluidity in the Leeds side has become even more apparent.
Well, if they finally chase a deal for De Paul until the end, they would secure a marvellous player. The 26-year-old is having a terrific campaign, registering four goals and three assists in all competitions.
How much would you pay for Rodrigo De Paul?
Possessing the ability to score goals and assist, huge parallels can be drawn to both Pablo Hernandez and Mateusz Klich. The duo are now both over 30, though, and judging by this current campaign, they are lacking the qualities to play in the top-flight of English football.
Hernandez has started just two league outings all term while Klich has only scored once in his last 17 Premier League outings.
Therefore, just imagine the type of midfield Leeds would have if they welcomed De Paul to Elland Road. Now, Rodrigo may not have completely hit the ground running in Yorkshire – scoring three times this term – but a pairing of him and the Argentine would be one of the most eye-catching in the league.
Why? Because while De Paul is adept going forward, he has the energy required to run the game from midfield in Marcelo Bielsa’s high-tempo system.
For Udinese, he plays in a slightly deeper role and against Napoli on Saturday, he was once again the shining light for his side.
He scored his team’s only goal in a 2-1 defeat and performed a colossal five dribbles – more than anyone on the pitch. For context, neither Klich nor Rodrigo have managed more than three dribbles in a single game this season.
That wasn’t the only facet he offered against Sampdoria, however. De Paul also won eight ground duels – again more than anyone on the pitch.
He was clearly a class above, succeeding with all four of his long balls forward. Only Luke Ayling produced more for Leeds this weekend, while Raphinha was the only person to match the Whites’ transfer target for ground duels.
De Paul is a player described as someone who “lacks absolutely nothing” by his former manager Julio Velazquez and his performance this weekend certainly showcases that.
If that isn’t enough, his running could help to get the best out of Rodrigo. He could lend a hand in the engine room where the Spaniard doesn’t typically track back. This acquisition could be game-changing for a whole host of reasons.
Even for a fee of £30m, Leeds simply have to sign him. Klich and Hernandez have not been up to scratch this term and another option in a busy end to the campaign would be invaluable for Bielsa.
AND in other news, Forget Bamford: Leeds must revive interest in £27m beast with “magic in his feet”…