Leeds United summer transfer departure wants to be joined at new club by 'forceful' Whites man

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Ex-Leeds United man Marc Roca would welcome a reunion with 'great professional' Diego Llorente at Real Betis as the latter's move away from Elland Road draws closer.

The Whites agreed terms with the LaLiga side on Sunday night after receiving an improved offer for the centre-back. Llorente joined Leeds in 2020 from Real Sociedad in an £18m deal but has plied his trade away from the club with Serie A side Roma since January 2023 thanks to a pair of loan spells.

His time at Leeds is expected to come to a complete halt this week as he follows Roca to Real Betis. The midfielder's own move was somewhat more protracted than initial noises from Spain suggested, with Leeds holding out to get a better deal than the one first offered.

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Speaking in a press conference to mark his permanent move back to the club who loaned him from Leeds last season, Roca admitted it was not an easy deal to get done but he was determined to see it through. He said: "The negotiations were a little complicated for all parties, it is not easy, but both the club and I were clear from the first months that we did not want our professional relationship to end in a year. We all wanted it to last over time. I fell in love with the club since I arrived and I was able to play with the shirt at Villamarín, since I felt the support of the fans, which has been very important and I have felt loved. When you feel loved you want to make a path and our project is to grow and be winners, I was clear from the moment I arrived that I wanted to be here for many more years. And I wanted to be here since I arrived. They have not been easy months, but we all wanted the destiny to be here for many years. I want to thank the club because it has made an important effort."

Roca, who has described his Real Betis team-mates as his family, hopes to welcome Llorente to the family now too. He said: "Yes, obviously I would advise him [to come] because that's where I am, one wants the best for oneself, and for friends too. If he ends up signing, he'll be very well at home. He had many offers and if he's decided to come it's because he knows [it will be good for him here]. He's a very good person and he's a great professional. He's a forceful centre-back, with good physique and good ball progression. If he signs he'll help us a lot. I want the best for my friends. If he's chosen Betis it's because he knows he'll be very well [here]."

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