Diego Llorente: Things to Know About the New Leeds United Signing

Diego Llorente
Llorente is set to sign for Leeds United | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

So, you've just conceded seven goals in your opening two Premier League matches. What do you do? You buy a new centre-back, obviously. Leeds United have played this game before, eh?

The Whites have already stiffened their defence with Freiburg man Robin Koch, and are now set to splash the cash on Real Sociedad central defender Diego Llorente.

The Spaniard will arrive at Elland Road in a deal worth around €20m, and Marcelo Bielsa and his staff will be hoping he is the difference between Premier League safety and another 16 years of agony.

Marcelo Bielsa Lufc GIF by Leeds United - Find & Share on GIPHY

No pressure, then. So, who is this guy that is carrying the weight of West Yorkshire on his broad shoulders? Let's get the 411, shall we?

Real Madrid Scholar

Pepe, Diego Llorente
"I can't wait to become a Real Madrid legend Peps" | John Berry/Getty Images

Anyone who has played for Real Madrid at one stage or another is a sexy signing. Just ask Stoke City and their plethora of Barcelona rejects and Champions League winners. It was great fun - before the relega--- DON'T SAY THAT WORD.

Anyway, Llorente came through the ranks at possibly the biggest football club on the planet, and although he only made three appearances at senior level for Los Blancos, he received the best education money could buy. Imagine growing up and watching Sergio Ramos blossom into the best sh*thouse on planet earth - you can't help but learn a thing or two.

Pedigree: Check.

The Red Fury

Diego Llorente
Rocking the Red Fury get-up | David Ramos/Getty Images

Having said all that, it must be heartbreaking to spend 14 years building up to becoming a Madrid regular, only to be told you're just not up to it. So, to recover from that setback, to get knocked down - and then get up again - is a true sign of resilience, a big old pair of cojones, and a fantastic title for a Chumbawamba track.

The defender's spirit and quality were honoured at the highest level possible back in 2016, when he made his first international appearance for Spain's senior side, and he has gone on to pick up four more caps for the Red Fury since that day. It's not a massive amount, but he's got some tough competition.

Bouncebackability: Check


Marcelo Bielsa
Bielsa breaking the record for the world's longest squat | Pool/Getty Images

Bielsa is a master tactician, and he'll probably have the perfect plan already laid out for Llorente in his Leeds side. But injuries, suspensions and exhausted legs have been a regular theme at Elland Road over the past two years - and at most clubs, for that matter. What's needed then, is someone who can slot striaght into a team in a number of positions, and get on with his job with no fuss at all.

Enter, Llorente! The Spaniard can play naturally as a right or left centre-back, and he has even dabbled successfully as a central defensive midfielder and a full-back during his time in La Liga. Ideal then, as a player who can plug the gaps which appear from the gruelling demands and wear and tear of the Premier League.

Diego of All Trades: Check

A Bielsa Defender

Diego Llorente
Llorente high-fiving every defender better than him in La Liga | Denis Doyle/Getty Images

It's no good being so bloody versatile if you don't fit the strict mould that Bielsa demands his players to squeeze into, though. Calm down Whites, Victor Orta has done it again. Llorente is everything which the Argentinian coach expects of his troops: Super confident in possession, strong in the air and on the ground, and surgical in his decision making and mental clarity.

What's clear is, he is prepared to take a risk in order to keep the game moving, and in a team as adventurous as Leeds, that bravery and intelligence is vital. Still, if he's under pressure, get it out, if he can play, get it forward. And with the ability to step into midfield, his passing range cannot be underestimated.

Moulded Soldier: Check

Danger Man

Diego Costa, Diego Llorente
Showing the big man on campus who's boss | Denis Doyle/Getty Images

It may not be his primary job, but Llorente has been known to pop up with a goal or two throughout his time in Spain. The 27-year-old is an impressive aerial threat in both penalty areas, repelling balls away from his own goalmouth, and firing them powerfully towards the opposition's. The defensive version of Andy Carroll.

He managed a whopping seven goals across all competitions for Sociedad in the 2017/18 campaign, which undoubtedly is the best haul of his career. Leeds will have a new target man to aim for from free-kicks and corners then, and those clutch goals could be the deciding factor in a close, nervy, low-scoring encounter - if the Whites ever end up having one of those.

Andy Carroll Effect: Check