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Roma Likely to Sign Llorente Permanently This Summer

After a successful stint last spring, and a solid start to the new season, could Diego Llorente find a permanent place in Rome?

AS Roma v US Salernitana - Serie A TIM Photo by Matteo Ciambelli/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Arriving in the winter of 2010 on loan from Bayern Munich, Luca Toni is the gold standard of 21st-century mid-season acquisitions for AS Roma. Joining the Giallorossi in the middle of a pitched battle against José Mourinho's Inter Milan side, Toni did all he could to help Claudio Ranieri's club hoist the Scudetto, scoring five goals in approximately 900 minutes. Unfortunately, Toni's addition wasn't enough to topple Inter, but it doesn't get much better in terms of short-term winter impact.

And while he can't quite hold a candle to the legendary Italian striker, Spanish defender Diego Llorente has been a valuable piece for the Giallorossi since arriving on loan from Leeds last winter. While he sat on the sidelines during his first month in Italy, Llorente made 12 appearances in all competitions down the stretch, including six starts, providing cover behind Chris Smalling, Gianluca Mancini, and Roger Ibañez, doing just enough to convince the club to extend his loan another season.

With Ibañez sold to Saudi Arabia late in the summer and free agent signee Evan N'Dicka mysteriously remaining on the sidelines, Llorente has been a pivotal piece for Roma thus far, starting all three matches for Mourinho and even setting up Andrea Belotti for the club's first goal of the season in late August.

And now, according to The Athletic's Phil Hay, Llorente, 30, is likely to move to Roma permanently this summer. For now, this remains pure speculation from The Athletic's Leeds reporter, but it makes a certain amount of sense given Llorente's relationship with Mourinho. But then again, Mourinho's deal expires in June, so all bets could be off by then.

Stay tuned.