Manuel Pellegrini is a big fan of Lucas Martinez Quarta and Real Betis are lining up a £5 million deal for the Leeds United target, according to El Intransigente.
Surely Leeds didn’t think they would have a clear path to the signature of an Argentine international with a Copa Libertadores trophy on his CV already.
Jeunes Footeaux reported in July that the Marcelo Bielsa’s West Yorkshire giants were prepared to pay £11 million for Martinez Quarta, a technically-gifted, modern-thinking central who sounds every inch like Ben White’s replacement.
But the first offer is set to arrive from Andalusia rather than England.
Although, according to reports from South America, Real Betis’s £5 million bid is a lot less than the sum Leeds were willing to fork over for the 24-year-old.
El Intransigente claims that former Real Madrid and Manchester City boss Pellegrini, who replaced Rubi at a talented but underachieving Betis side recently, is a big fan of Martinez Quarta.
The veteran Chilean has apparently given a deal the green light, identifying the River Plate stopper as the man to succeed contract-rebel Aissa Mandi at the Estadio Benito Villamarin.
But Leeds will not be losing much sleep just yet. They can blow Betis out of the water with an approach in the region of £11 million.
Then again, with interest emerging from one of Spain’s most ambitious and big-spending clubs, maybe it’s time for Leeds to turn their interest into something a little more tangible.