Diego Llorente insight: Leeds United expert reveals what Roma can expect from new recruit

With Roma acquiring Diego Llorente from Leeds United, there is a new member of the squad for fans to get familiar with.

Going to the Giallorossi from Yorkshire – there’s a catchphrase there somewhere!

Llorente has joined Roma on loan for the rest of the season and the defender could make his move from Leeds permanent if all goes well. But as this is his first experience of playing in Serie A, it might be hard to make accurate judgements on him so soon.

Thankfully, this website is based exactly where you would want to be to find out about the Leeds loanee!

Thus, Giallorossi Yorkshire has spoken to Leeds United expert and editor of TEAMtalk, James Marshment, to get the lowdown on what to really expect from Llorente.

What was your initial reaction when you saw Diego Llorente would be joining Roma?

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James: “I was surprised at first, as Leeds only rewarded him with a new three-and-a-half-year deal on December 23. However, when you think about it from a business point of view, Leeds were probably ensuring they were protecting his value as a player.

“When you think a little more about his sale, his performances have really dropped off over the past 12 months. And when he’s played this season, it’s apparent he’s lost a lot of confidence in his own ability.

“A change will do him good, though I’m concerned his exit leaves Leeds a little light of experienced, right-sided centre-halves.”

What are his biggest strengths and weaknesses as a player?

“When we first brought in Llorente, he struggled with injury and that was a bit of a theme during his first year. When he did play though, he was a good reader of the game, good tackler and was really excellent at picking passes out from the back. He likes to carry the ball too.

“However, once his confidence dropped off, a number of passes were misplaced and, more worryingly, he was increasingly coming off second best in one-on-ones. 

“On his day, he’s a very good – international class – defender; when he’s off it, he really struggles – and there doesn’t seem to be an in between for him.”

Roma have been using a back three this season, though there’s a feeling that reverting to a four might be in the back of Mourinho’s mind. How do you think Llorente might best fit in tactically?

“He’s always played in a back four at Leeds; more often on the right side of the central pairing. A back three role actually might suit him though and play to his strengths at bringing the ball out and playing from the back.

“Mourinho’s a clever manager, though, I have no doubt he will quickly see what he can bring and what system suits him, and his squad, best.”

How do you think he will adapt to Italian football, and being in the Europa League too?

“A move will do him good and, actually, the less frenetic pace of Serie A (and the Europa League for that matter) will probably suit his game. I’ll follow his progress closely, but I expect he will be one of those players who, for whatever reason just went stale where he was, and will return to what he’s capable of at another club. 

“I’m sure the Roman way of life will suit him and his young family well.”

If the move becomes permanent, would the price be fair? How would you feel about Leeds losing Llorente for good and does this seem like an appropriate next step for him?

“I’ve seen mixed reviews about the fee being paid ranging from the full £18m Leeds paid to something much lower and nearer the £8m mark.

“I’ll be sad in a sense to see him leave because I know there’s a really capable defender in there. He always gave his all for the club and I thank him for his efforts during his two and a half years. But his best form looked behind him at Leeds and a move is probably the right outcome for all parties.”

You can follow James on Twitter @marshyleeds and read his articles on TEAMtalk.

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