Leeds United’s chances of signing Torino midfielder Sasa Lukic, initially reported by Italian media outlet ForzaRoma [23 November], have been dealt a blow after it was revealed today that competitors Roma have not given up their pursuit of the 26-year-old.
It initially appeared that Roma would be unable to meet the £13m asking price for Lukic, with Torino open to a sale as contract negotiations regarding an extension to his current deal at the Serie A club had ground to a halt.
At this stage, the path seemed unobstructed for the Whites to secure the services of the Serbian international.
Matters have become complicated again, however, by a report from Calciomercato today [30 November] which confirms Jose Mourinho’s Roma side are still in the race for Lukic, with the club supposedly exploring the possibility of a potential swap deal for defender Marash Kumbulla.
Kumbulla has frequently found himself out of Mourinho’s starting XI this season, having only made three Serie A appearances so far. His shared Albanian nationality with Torino manager Ivan Juric suggests a familiarity with one another which increases the appeal of Mourinho’s swap deal proposal.
Lukic will reportedly meet with the Torino board following his return from the World Cup with Serbia to discuss his future, with both Leeds and Roma hoping to gain his signature.
Amid speculation concerning his future one thing seems certain, Lukic will leave Torino in January. The only question remaining is whether he will stick to a league he knows well in Serie A, or leave Italy altogether to test his mettle with Leeds in the Premier League.
Considering rumours regarding the imminent departure of club stalwart Mateusz Klich in January, the Whites will understandably be hoping the answer is the latter.
With Roma far closer to European qualification than Leeds are currently, it would be hard to begrudge Lukic for choosing Italy over West Yorkshire.
Leeds can only hope at this point that Mourinho’s proposed swap deal hits a snag of some kind, as that seems the preferred option for both clubs involved in it.
If Lukic chooses Roma as is to be expected, it is vital that the Whites quickly focus their efforts elsewhere on other midfield targets in order to ensure that any January outgoings are swiftly replaced.