Leeds targeted by vultures ahead of relegation as talks opened over first transfer exit | Football | Sport

Marc Roca could be the first high-profile summer departure at Leeds after Real Betis reopened talks with his representatives over a potential transfer as the Whites face the sickening prospect of relegation to the Championship this weekend. Sam Allardyce’s dejected side must beat Tottenham on the final day of the Premier League season to stand a chance of survival and even then, they must hope Everton and Leicester fail to beat Bournemouth and West Ham, respectively.

Should Leeds face the drop, a mass clear-out will be on the cards in Yorkshire this summer with some players set to face staggering 60 per cent wage cuts due to brutal clauses written into their contracts.

Yet it appears the Whites will have no problems shifting some of the talent within their squad with Roca among those already of strong interest.

The 26-year-old Spanish central midfielder has been a mainstay in the side this season having featured in 32 Premier League matches following his £10million transfer from Bayern Munich.

Now Real Betis are prepared to offer him a return to La Liga, where he previously shone with Espanyol, after fresh contact with his agent.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side tried to sign the former Spain U21 technician last summer before Leeds beat them to the punch but now it looks increasingly likely that Roca could depart this summer.

Betis’ newly-appointed sporting director Ramon Planes, brought in from Getafe, is believed to have reignited interest in the Leeds maestro following consultation with the Andalusian club’s hierarchy.

Teenage forward Wilfried Gnonto, who fell out of favour under Javi Gracia after glimpses of huge promise under Jesse Marsch, could also be heading for the exit door.

There is interest in Gnonto from his homeland Italy where the 19-year-old has unfinished business after leaving Inter Milan’s youth academy for Zurich in 2020.

Despite earning 11 caps for Italy’s national side under Roberto Mancini, Gnonto is yet to feature in Serie A after walking an unconventional pathway to Premier League stardom.

Having signed Gnonto for just £4m from the Swiss club, Leeds could be set to net a mega profit for the highly-rated attacker, who was one of only a few success stories from Victor Orta’s turbulent reign as sporting director.

Jack Harrison’s new contract is thought to be protected by a relegation clause that could see him leave for a cut-price should Leeds be faced with relegation after three years back in the Premier League.

Harrison has previously attracted interest from Newcastle and Leicester, where he underwent a discreet medical in January before eventually opting to extend his stay at Elland Road.

The 26-year-old forward, who has four goals and seven assists in 35 top-flight outings this season, is unlikely to be short of interest once again this summer – particularly if Leeds are relegated.

There have also been suggestions that Aston Villa are in contention to sign Rodrigo Moreno but those reports are understood to be wide of the mark.

Central defender Robin Koch, another player that has been linked with Newcastle, has also attracted admirers across Europe.

Promising 21-year-old right-back Cody Drameh is wanted by Luton Town on a permanent deal should the Hatters seal promotion to the Premier League this weekend when they take on Coventry City in the Championship play-off final.

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