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Leeds United transfer news: Whites target 'hidden gem' as club move ahead in Rodrigo De Paul race

Don’t be at all surprised to see Leeds United continually linked with a move for Rodrigo De Paul again this summer.

For all the world, it looked as if the Whites were going to a wrap up a deal for the Udinese talisman at the beginning of the season, and even his social media activity seemed to suggest that a sensational transfer was in the offing.

Since then, however, various reports have linked defending Premier League champions Liverpool with a potential swoop for the South American, and a new piece from Italian outlet Tutto Udinese will do little to reassure Leeds fans who are hoping that a transfer can be revisited in the coming months.

According to the continental title, the Reds have moved ahead of another prospective suitor, Inter Milan, in the race for De Paul.

It is understood that Jurgen Klopp’s men are happy to put up around £26 million for the player. That’s still some way short of the £34.8 million that Udinese are looking for – but at the very least, it is more than Inter are seemingly willing to pay out.

It’s not surprise that De Paul is in demand either.

In a recent interview, Watford’s director of football, Cristiano Giaretta – who has close ties to Udinese through the Pozzo family – argued that the midfielder was an elite level talent.

He told Tutto Mercato Web: “He feels like a leader.

"He is a captain on and off the pitch and for me he is even among the strongest players in the world.”

The numbers seem to back that viewpoint up to – according to Whoscored, De Paul has been the 13th highest rated player in the whole of Serie A this season.

Elsewhere, Football Insider recently reported that Leeds were interested in Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare, and former Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips has been singing his praises.

Speaking to the same outlet, he said: "He’s playing in the top league and he’s only 21. That in itself proves he’s a good player.

“I can only speak from experience when we brought in N’Golo Kante and Riyad Mahrez at Leicester. It’s always a slight gamble but those two players didn’t do too badly, did they?

“There are hidden gems out there with the youngsters in France but it’s always tough. They’ve got a different kind of attitude, the French players.

“If you come over here you need to prepare to knuckle down and work hard. These boys have got talent, so Soumare could be a gem of a signing.”

Leeds aren’t the only team to have been linked with a move for Soumare in recent weeks.

According to the Guardian, Leicester City, Manchester City, Manchester United and AC Milan are also keen on the player.

If Soumare is emulate N’Golo Kante's success in England, however, he may have to pull his finger out a little.

Compared to Kante's final season in France with Caen, the Lille man is currently averaging 3.5 fewer tackles per game, 1.8 fewer interceptions, 0.8 fewer key passes, and 0.6 fewer successful dribbles, as per Whoscored.

We’ve gathered the rest of today's Premier League gossip below: