Leeds United may have to pay a club record £35 million to sign Florentino Luis with Gazzetta dello Sport claiming that Benfica will not sell the Portuguese midfielder on the cheap.
Even Kalvin Phillips, the so-called ‘Yorkshire Pirlo’, cannot compete with this 20-year-old maestro with a handful of Champions League appearances on his CV.
Statistically speaking, Florentino outshines Leeds’ homegrown talisman in a number of key areas.
He averages more interceptions per game than Phillips (4.1 to 1.3), more tackles (2.8) to (1.9) and even has a better pass completion rate (90 per cent compared to 81 per cent).
So if Leeds do pull off one hell of a coup by luring Florentino to Elland Road, ahead of the likes of AC Milan, Manchester United and Bayer Leverkusen, Phillips might just find himself looking nervously over his shoulder.
Though, as Gazzetta dello Sport make clear, Leeds would have a mountain to climb if they want to bring the 2019 Primeira Liga champion to West Yorkshire.
The report claims that Benfica are willing to sell Florentino for far less than his mammoth release clause. But he is still expected to command a fee of around £35 million – almost double Leeds’ current transfer record.
With that in mind, Victor Orta and co might have to think outside the box (ESPN).
Benfica loaned another young midfielder, Gedson Fernandes, to Tottenham on an initial 18-month deal in January with an option to buy clause. Leeds are no stranger to such arrangements (see Helder Costa and Jean-Kevin Augustin).
Furthermore, with Manchester City also interested in Florentino, per The Guardian, perhaps Pep Guardiola will entrust his old pal Bielsa with another talented youngster with Jack Harrison going from strength to strength at Elland Road.
In other news, Report: Everton talent Fraser Hornby set for Reims