Leeds United accept improved offer for wantaway international

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Leeds United have accepted an improved offer from Real Betis for Diego Llorente and expect his departure to be confirmed on Monday.

The centre-back will reunite with fellow ex-Whites man and Spanish compatriot Marc Roca after Real Betis came to terms with Leeds overnight. The fee is likely to be undisclosed but the YEP understands it to be slightly higher than the €3m being reported over the weekend.

Llorente last featured for Leeds in December 2022 before securing a mid-season loan move to Serie A side Roma, due to the player’s desire to get a fresh start over personal circumstances. That deal was with a view to a permanent exit but Leeds’ relegation from the Premier League activated a clause in his contract that allowed him to leave on loan again and retain full salary. Roma stepped in once more and took him for the full 2023/24 campaign, but despite making 42 appearances for the Italian club last season no permanent move transpired.

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Instead the 30-year-old will move back to LaLiga, bringing his time at Elland Road to an official end. Llorente joined the Whites from Real Sociedad for a fee of around £18m in September 2020 and made just 15 Premier League appearances in his debut season due to injury problems. The following campaign brought 28 top flight outings but in a relegation-threatened team Llorente looked to struggle at times with the physically demanding nature of defending in the English top tier.

He follows Roca, £40m Tottenham Hotspur signing Archie Gray and goalkeeper Kristoffer Klaesson in making permanent exits from Elland Road this summer. Jamie Shackleton also departed after failing to agree a new deal at the end of his contract and the homegrown academy export has since joined Sheffield United as a free agent. Leeds are yet to come to terms with club captain Liam Cooper on a new deal and he has three Championship options elsewhere.

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