Leeds United centre-back Diego Llorente is reportedly set to return to Elland Road in the summer with Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma not keen to make his deal permanent.
The January window may have seen Leeds make a number of key signings to strengthen the side in the middle of a relegation battle, but some important first-team players also departed.
Max Wöber joined Leeds to bolster the defence, while Diego Llorente joined AS Roma on loan for the remainder of the season.
How is Llorente doing at Roma?
This loan move presented a smart one for Llorente, as his form at Leeds had seen him lose a lot of confidence from the fanbase this season, while he moves to the Serie A to team up with Jose Mourinho, the man who was in charge of Real Madrid when Llorente was emerging from the academy there.
However, it’s not been a very successful stint thus far, as he has only managed two appearances, clocking a singular minute in his first, before being handed a start in the Europa League win over Real Sociedad last week.
That start against his former club didn’t go to plan though, as he was subbed off at half time with an injury, just about summing up his luck so far.
What’s the latest on his loan?
The loan agreement came with the additional option-to-buy for the Serie A giants, meaning they could sign him permanently in the summer for a reported £18million – seeing Leeds recoup the money they spent on him in 2020.
However, that doesn’t look to be what will happen this summer, with Il Messaggero reporting that the Italian club are not looking to make his deal a long-term one after this season.
The suspicion with Llorente’s arrival at Roma was that it was one purely to bulk up the depth of the defence and bring in another body, and that has been confirmed by the lack of playing time for the Spaniard, while his performances thus far have done little to shift the narrative:
“Yes, you will say, the Spaniard has arrived: but it seemed only a graft (signing) from a numerical point of view and nothing else. And as far as he has played so far, the feeling is confirmed.”
Leeds’ best centre-back?
It shouldn’t be a surprise to the Leeds hierarchy that a player woefully out of form has gone to a better club and struggled to even get minutes, let alone impress a seriously demanding manager.
Llorente needs to leave Leeds, not because we have markedly better players to replace him, but for his own career to start improving.
There won’t be a shortage of clubs that would want to sign him in the summer, I don’t think, especially in La Liga.
Hopefully we can still recoup a lot of the fee that we paid for him three years ago.
Quiz: Can you remember Leeds United’s last 15 results v Wolves ahead of Molineux trip?