Diego Llorente: Leeds United sign Spain defender from Real Sociedad

Diego Llorente
Diego Llorente has played five times for the Spain national team

Leeds United have signed Real Sociedad defender Diego Llorente on a four-year deal for an undisclosed fee, which is understood to be around £18m.

The Spain international will provide competition for centre-backs Robin Koch, Liam Cooper and Pascal Struijk.

Former Real Madrid player Llorente, 27, can also play in midfield.

He is the newly-promoted side's fourth major signing of the summer following their Championship title win last season.

Leeds have spent significant money, including a club record £26m for Valencia forward Rodrigo, £13m on Freiburg defender Koch, and £16m on ex-Wolves winger Helder Costa.

"It was a difficult decision for me and my family [to leave Sociedad] but I have taken the best decision of my football career," Llorente told BBC Radio Leeds.

"The coach [Marcelo Bielsa] has been an important factor. I can improve under him and it will be an honour to learn from him.

"I spoke with Pablo [Hernandez] a few days ago. He told me about the city and the team, and I have also played with Rodrigo in the national team."

Marcelo Bielsa's side have conceded seven goals in their first two Premier League games, losing 4-3 to Liverpool on the opening weekend and beating Fulham by the same score on Saturday.

Llorente, who will wear the number 14 shirt, has won five international caps for Spain.

Analysis

Adam Pope, BBC Sport

Marcelo Bielsa loves versatility so Llorente's ball-playing qualities and ability to do a job in front of the back four if required, like Brighton loanee Ben White did on occasion last season, will be a major plus.

It also represents a change in approach from Bielsa as his squad begins to expand in an area where it was felt he thought he had enough cover with the likes of Leif Davis and right back Luke Ayling.

Llorente, who was in Spain head coach Luis Enrique's recent Uefa Nations League squads, says he is ready to play in Sunday's game at Sheffield United, but that will depend on him being is up to Bielsa's notoriously stringent fitness levels.

Find all the latest football transfers on our dedicated page.

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