Former Leeds United and England U21 international Ronaldo Vieira has been linked with a move from Sampdoria to AC Milan, according to reports out of the Italian press. The best-named footballer in Italy was brought to Sampdoria last summer after a surprising move from promotion-chasing Leeds, with the Championship club seemingly to have decided to cash in on the midfielder. Marcelo Bielsa, the Leeds manager, seemed surprised by the move, but since almost every team in the Championship loses money, it was a sacrifice that apparently had to be made.
AC MILAN - Eyes on Ronaldo VIEIRA https://t.co/HuJIayd4B5"— Ghana Guardian (@ghanaguardian1) June 4, 2019
Now Milan are reportedly in the running for Vieira’s signature, despite former Hamburger SV defensive midfielder Alban Ekdal being preferred to Vieira almost all season in central midfield under Marco Giampaolo.
Giampaolo has been linked with a move to Milan in recent days, and while that story has drug on, more and more former Sampdoria players have been linked with a move to the San Siro. While Dennis Praet and Joachim Anderson have grabbed a lot of the headlines, the reports for the former Leeds star have been somewhat under the radar.
Vieira got his chance at first-team football as an 18 year-old under former Leeds manager Garry Monk in the 2016-17 season. He made 34 appearances in the league that season and was named the young player of the year at the club in 2017. He went on to score the winning penalty for England to defend their Toulon Tournament title in June of 2017.
He had an injury plagued season in 2017-18 at Leeds, but still managed to make 28 appearances after waiting until late in October to make a return to the starting lineup. He did score a goal in the League Cup for Leeds, but otherwise he had a fairly mediocre season at Eland Road. A lot was expected of him, and perhaps it was a too much too soon for the teenager.
Now 20, and fresh off of a year’s worth of experience in Serie A, is he ready for a move to Milan? Probably not. However, he has a remarkable amount of talent and could be an important defensive midfielder for almost any club in the next few years. He’s still only 20 and is entering into his fourth year of first-team football.
If Milan do move for Vieira, this move would be for the future, not right now, so don’t expect him to come in and take up the role that Lucas Biglia or Tiémoué Bakayoko have played right away. But don’t be surprised to see him suddenly pop up next season as a legitimate contender for a starting role at the San Siro in the 2020-21 season should he come along with Giampaolo.