River Plate have yet to receive a single offer for Argentine international centre-back Lucas Martinez Quarta despite speculation linking him with Premier League newcomers Leeds United, coach Marcelo Gallardo has told El Desmarque.
While Robin Koch’s arrival from the Bundesliga might have filled the void created by Ben White’s departure, Saturday’s 4-3 defeat to Liverpool highlighted a worrying lack of depth at the heart of Marcelo Bielsa’s back line.
With captain Liam Cooper missing through injury, Bielsa was forced to field 21-year-old Pascal Struijk, a midfielder by trade, in an unfamiliar role at the home of the reigning champions.
No wonder Leeds are still intent on bringing in a new defensive stopper between now and the October deadline.
But the Martinez Quarta trail has grown cold of late and, according to Gallardo, the 2018 Copa Libertadores winner is set for another year at River Plate.
“Martínez Quarta has not expressed his desire to leave. Nor was there any formal offer. (A summer exit) was more the wish of his agent, whom I respect,” says arguably the most highly rated club coach outside European football.
“When an offer arrives, we will analyse it.”
Technically gifted and confident in possession, Martinez Quarta is very much a defender built for Bielsa-ball.
Jeunes Footeaux reported in July that Leeds were willing to pay £11 million for the youngster’s signature, while agent Gustavo Goni suggested this was an “ideal” time to think about a move to Europe (TYC).
With deals for Josko Gvardiol and co hitting the buffers, there’s still time for Leeds to revisit Martinez Quarta during the next three weeks.
Leeds United’s first six fixtures of 2020/21
Sheffield United (A)
Manchester City (H)
Aston Villa (A)