Ronaldo Vieira’s Leeds United future is in doubt after Sampdoria tabled a multi-million pound bid for the midfielder.
The Serie A club are willing to pay around £7m for Vieira having made a move to sign him over the weekend.
Vieira, who is 12 months into a four-year contract with United, is understood to be happy at Elland Road but he has featured sporadically under new head coach Marcelo Bielsa in pre-season and would not be certain of regular appearances in the Championship this term.
Sampdoria want to take him to Serie A and reports in Italy claim the club are confident of talking Leeds into a sale.
Vieira, 20, has been rated as one of United’s most talented prospects since a spectacular breakthrough from the club’s youth-team ranks in 2016.
The former Benfica youngster came to Leeds via the i2i academy system and bypassed the Under-23s completely, making his first-team debut two days after signing a first professional contract.
United have improved that deal twice and handed Vieira a new four-year contract last summer on the back of a highly impressive first year at senior level.
His form dropped off last season as Leeds struggled in the Championship and Vieira battled tendonitis in one knee but he was called up by England to the Toulon Tournament in 2017 and 2018 and returned home with winners’ medals on both occasions.
United have avoided the loss of any leading academy graduates since Lewis Cook left in a £6m move to Bournemouth in 2016 and they averted the potential departure of left-back Tom Pearce by tying him to new terms two months ago.
Vieira has played 71 times for Leeds but the club’s desire to keep him is being tested by Sampdoria’s approach.
Speaking recently, Vieira insisted he was focused on another season with United, saying: “The target for me is to do my best and improve under the new manager.
“I want to help the team as much as I can, achieve what we want to achieve this season and maybe get a few goals.
“Everyone wants to be involved but we’re a team, you know? The message for this season is like side before self. I’ll play where he tells me to play and it’s the same with everyone else.”
Vieira started yesterday’s friendly win over Las Palmas but was replaced at half-time by Mateusz Klich. He had previously featured in the weaker line-ups used by Bielsa for games at York City and Guiseley.