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Leeds United and Celtic both look to miss out on Chelsea midfielder Mario Pasalic

Real Betis look to be in pole position for a loan deal for the midfielder

AC Milan v US Citta di Palermo - Serie A Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

Chelsea midfielder Mario Pasalic looks like he’s going to spend yet another year abroad, after both Celtic FC and Leeds United both are spurned by the player, as it appears his agent hinted that the player might be going to Real Betis in La Liga instead.

As we at Through It All Together first noted back in early June, Mario Pasalic was brought on loan to Elche CF in La Liga by Victor Orta before Orta left Spain for Middlesbrough, and so the player and the Leeds Director of Football had some history together. And with Pasalic looking nowhere near breaking into the first team at Chelsea, with players such as N’Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic already established in the first team, and with links to players such as Monaco’s Tiemoue Bakayoko popping up, Pasalic would struggle to even make the bench, much less see the pitch, at Stamford Bridge.

With the history between Orta and Pasalic, there were some links and rumors in the press that Leeds United were interested in bringing in the player on loan. However, while Pasalic did not turn very many heads at Elche or at Monaco, he did start to blossom in Serie A, where he was on loan at Italian giants AC Milan.

While at Milan, the 22 year-old Croatian midfielder scored five goals in 26 appearances in all competitions for the legendary club, and has become an in-demand player after a successful run. In addition to the British links, Lazio and Galatasaray are both reported to be interested in a loan deal for him, but he is rumored to be headed to Real Betis instead.

To be quite honest, this always seemed like a long-shot anyway. Leeds have made a series of moves to shore up the midfield and attacking options, with Mateusz Klich and Samu Saiz both attack minded players, and the club also added another defensively oriented midfielder in Vurnon Anita to go with the central midfielders at the club, which was arguably the position of least need for Leeds during the summer transfer window. Leeds needs to sign another central defender or two and a left back with the start of the season less than a month away.

Fancy expensive loan deals for rising stars can be a good move, as the Pontus Jansson deal showed, but it can also cause frustration, as the Kyle Bartley deal showed. There is no guarantee that a good loan signing will stick around after the season, and if a player plays too well, the parent club will either bring him back into the fold or sell him on to a higher bidder. And who knows? If Leeds are promoted next year, Orta could use the increased cash flow to grab Pasalic when he’s out of contract at the end of the year and get him on a free transfer. MOT