Diego Llorente has returned to AS Roma this season for a second loan spell and it’s looking increasingly likely that he will join the club on a permanent move.
The defender’s days at Elland Road are numbered and while the Whites expected to see a large amount of players leave this summer, it seemed Llorente’s fate was always going to see him at another club. The 30-year-old first moved to Roma back in January this year and while there was an option for the Serie A outfit to buy him, they opted not to pursue that.
Llorente returned to the Stadio Olimpico in July on his second loan move and Phil Hay believes the player will eventually make the move full-time.
“Roma specifically didn’t activate the option that they had on him which was supposed to be the fee Leeds signed him for. I think there’s probably a high likelihood he goes there permanently,” he said on an episode of The Square Ball podcast.
A permanent move would be the best option for all involved, as Daniel Farke looks to build a squad capable of challenging for promotion back into the Premier League as soon as possible. Llorente is also getting more opportunities at Roma and Jose Mourinho is clearly a fan of his.
Since the season kick off, the centre-back has started all three of their league matches so far, alongside Gianluca Mancini and Chris Smalling. Llorente even bagged himself an assist in the opening game of the season against Salernitana. In comparison, before his first loan move to Roma, the Spanish international played just eight Premier League games and was left on the bench for 11.
Llorente’s current contract at Elland Road runs until 2026 so should Roma come knocking with an offer next summer, Leeds are in a position to earn back as much money as they can for him. The Whites signed him in 2020, for a fee believed to be in the region of £18 million.