Leeds United and Leicester City 'following' European defender as £10m loan return mooted as 'chess game'

Your round-up of the latest Leeds United stories ahead of Saturday’s Championship clash against Southampton.
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Leeds United have just one game of the regular Championship season remaining but it looks as though their campaign will be extended. Having seen Ipswich Town win 2-1 at Coventry City on Tuesday night, Daniel Farke’s side look set to be consigned to a third-place finish and the play-offs.

Automatic promotion can still be achieved, however it will need a minor miracle with Leeds required to beat Southampton while the virtually relegated Huddersfield Town must win at Portman Road. A point or more for Ipswich will confirm their place in the Premier League alongside Leicester City.

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While all focus in West Yorkshire is on the remaining fixtures, those in charge will no doubt be putting early plans in place for the summer. Leeds don’t yet know which league they will be in come the opening of the window in June but foundations will be laid for either outcome. Below, the YEP has rounded up some of the latest stories to come out of Elland Road.

MacNulty interest

Leeds are reportedly among two Championship teams interested in PEC Zwolle centre-back Anselmo Garcia MacNulty. Spanish outlet AS reports that they and Leicester City are keeping a close eye on the 21-year-old ahead of this summer’s transfer window.

MacNulty has enjoyed a varied upbringing, having been born in Seville and developed at Real Betis before moving to Wolfsburg in Germany and then the Netherlands. The left-sided defender first joined NAC Breda on loan before making the move to PEC Zwolle as a free agent last year and has also represented the Republic of Ireland at various youth levels.

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Since making the move, MacNulty has become a regular starter, making 29 appearances for the side 11th in the Eredivisie. Belgian outfit Club Brugge are also thought to be keeping a close eye on the centre-back’s development. A natural left-footed defender will likely be on the shopping list at Leeds, with club captain Liam Cooper expected to leave once his contract expires in June.

Roca return

Reports in Spain are suggesting Marc Roca will return to Leeds this summer - although it may not be as simple as it seems. Local outlet Diario de Sevilla reports that the decision could prove little more than a negotiating tactic from current club Real Betis, who are looking to drive down the midfielder’s price.

Roca is one of several Leeds players who forced their way out of Elland Road due to a loan clause in their contract, which became active following relegation. The 27-year-old has enjoyed life back in Spain and has made no secret of his desire to make the move permanent.

But Betis, like most La Liga sides, are having to be careful with their finances and may not be willing to match United’s valuation. As such, it seems they may plan to send him back to West Yorkshire as part of a wider ‘chess game’, with the suggestion being they may hold out to see if Leeds lower their valuation later in the summer.