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Three years after Leeds United links, Josip Ilicic is Serie A star

Josip Ilicic (R) of Atalanta BC in action against Raul Albiol of SSC Napoli during the serie A match between Atalanta BC and SSC Napoli at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia on January 21,...

The Slovenian was an ambitious transfer target for Leeds in the January of 2015.

Josip Ilicic of Atalanta BC competes for the ball with Mattia Bani (back) of AC Chievo Verona during the serie A match between Atalanta BC and AC Chievo Verona at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'...Josip Ilicic of Atalanta BC 

This week has seen Everton linked with a move for Atalanta midfielder Josip Ilicic. The Slovenian is currently at Atalanta and Italian publication Calciomercato, Everton are keeping tabs on the player and might make a move in the summer.

It makes sense based on his form. Ilicic has been putting in some of the best performances of his career this term.

It is news that Leeds United fans will hear with a sense of regret. Leeds were once heavily linked with a move for the Slovenian. The initial murmurings emerged whilst his compatriot Darko Milanic was Leeds boss. Back in October 2014 the Daily Star reported Leeds wanted Ilicic on loan as he was struggling to make the grade at Fiorentina.

Josip Ilicic (R) of Atalanta BC in action against Raul Albiol of SSC Napoli during the serie A match between Atalanta BC and SSC Napoli at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia on January 21,...Josip Ilicic 

The player continued to be linked with Leeds in the Italian media, where of course Leeds were doing most of their transfer business under Massimo Cellino. Ilicic was a target for Leeds throughout January 2015 but no deal ever came to fruition.

The playmaker had begun to find his feet at Fiorentina and Milanic was no longer at Elland Road so the links appeared to die out.

Josip Ilicic of ACF Fiorentina in action during the Serie A match between ACF Fiorentina v FC Internazionale at Stadio Artemio Franchi on April 22, 2017 in Florence, Italy.

Now he is one of the best performing midfielders in Serie A and scored two goals against Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League this week. He has scored 12 goals in 32 games for the club this season and has been named man of the match seven times since joining Atalanta in the summer.

Three years on from Leeds’ interest Ilicic is finding the form of his life. Leeds fans will wonder what might have been.

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