Leeds sign £23m Real Sociedad star Llorente

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Diego Llorente
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The Whites had been eager to add another defensive option to their ranks at Elland Road, with Marcelo Bielsa turning his attention towards Spain

Leeds have completed the signing of Real Sociedad defender Diego Llorente for a fee in the region of €25 million (£23m/$29m).

Marcelo Bielsa was eager to add some steel to his starting XI, with the goals having flowed at both ends of the field through the early weeks of the 2020-21 campaign.

Indeed, Leeds have been involved in back-to-back 4-3 thrillers after returning to the English top flight, with a narrow defeat suffered at defending champions Liverpool before then edging out Fulham at Elland Road.

Bielsa’s side were famed for their defensive resilience when securing promotion out of the Championship and have now added central defender Llorente to the ranks, having missed out on Ben White, who remained with Brighton.

Sociedad had released a statement confirming the move on Tuesday, before Leeds announced the completion of the transfer less than 48 hours later.

Llorente did have a €50m (£46m/$59m) release clause in his contract and was tied to Sociedad through to 2022, but sources have told Goal that Leeds agreed terms below that mark.

They will now be offering a Premier League stage to a man who has seen a move to England mooted for some time.

The Spain international previously failed to make his mark at La Liga giants Real Madrid, but has thrived since linking up with Sociedad in 2017.

A model of consistency for the Basque club, he made 88 appearances in total, scoring eight goals.

His efforts sparked talk of interest from the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham in the past, while Monaco were understood to have seen a bid rejected this summer.

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The Ligue 1 outfit are said to have put €15m (£14m/$18m) on the table, with Sociedad quickly making it clear that no agreement would be reached at that figure.

Leeds have had more luck when it comes to negotiating a fee, with Llorente signing a four-year deal with the Premier League side.

Madrid will be due part of the overall transfer package, having included a sell-on clause in their discussions with Sociedad, while the Basque club could now turn their attention to Atletico Madrid star Mario Hermoso or Getafe’s Leandro Cabrera as possible replacements. 

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