Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa identifies Ben White transfer alternative with talks underway

Leeds have opened talks to sign River Plate’s Lucas Martinez Quarta as a potential alternative to Ben White. The Whites have been busy in the transfer market since winning the Championship and securing promotion to the Premier League.

Marcelo Bielsa has signed goalkeeper Illan Meslier, striker Joe Gelhardt and extended Jack Harrison’s loan deal to keep him at Elland Road for the coming season.

They also made Helder Costa’s loan deal permanent after the winger netted five goals and chipped in with four assists.

Leeds are hoping to sign Brighton’s White after the centre-back impressed under Bielsa last season.

They have tabled two bids for the defender, however, Brighton are digging their heels in.

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And according to The Star, Leeds are now in talks to sign River Plate’s Quarta.

The Whites reckon they can land the Argentina international, 24, for less than his £18m release clause this summer.

It’s claimed River Plate need to sell players to raise funds and Quarta could be sacrificed.

River Plate could be willing to accept an initial offer of £10m plus add-ons.

Leeds boss Bielsa is desperate to bolster his defensive ranks at Elland Road this summer.

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The Star add that Leeds could also target Manchester City youngster Taylor Harwood-Bellis if they can’t sign White as Bielsa wants two new centre-halves.

Bielsa hasn’t given up hope of signing White, who is also being eyed by Liverpool.

However, Leeds, who have offered £22m for White and will return with another bid, are unlikely to meet Brighton’s asking price of around £40m.

Leeds confirmed on Monday that they’d extended Harrison’s loan deal from Manchester City for a third successive season.

Harrison, 23, said Bielsa was key to his decision to return.

“It’s is a great feeling to come back to where I have been settled,” he said.

“He’s a very demanding manager but as players we know it will be good for you in the end.

“We know that and have to follow his lead. We have to continue to buy into it and follow it and hopefully we will do well next year in the Premier League.

“When I first came to Leeds it was just kind of realising the pressures that come with playing for a huge club and what it means to the fans.

“Learning to play at a high level consistently – I don’t think anyone can tell you it’s easy playing for Marcelo but if you do what he asks you can improve yourself as a player and come out better.”

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