An update has emerged on Celtic defender Leo Hjelde, regarding Leeds’ interest in the teenage prospect.
According to the Daily Mail, Leeds United have opened talks with Leo Hjelde over a move to Elland Road from Celtic, with his contract at the Scottish club expiring next summer.
The report does not state whether Leeds are attempting to sign him in the current window or if they are prepared to wait and land him for a compensation fee in 2022.
Ange Postecoglou must avoid a nightmare scenario with Hjelde over the next 12 months. He cannot allow the young defender to join Leeds without, at least, putting up a fight.
The Australian boss must work hard with the club to pin the teenager down to a new contract by offering potential first-team football and higher wages to convince him to turn Leeds down and stay in Scotland.
There is no need for Hjelde to rush into a Premier League move as Celtic have proven to be a good pathway for players in recent years.
The Hoops have sold the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Kieran Tierney, Fraser Forster and Victor Wanyama to the English top-flight, with Kristoffer Ajer becoming the latest export following his transfer to Brentford earlier this month.
The young defender played 11 games on loan at Ross County in the Scottish Premiership last season, averaging a dismal WhoScored rating of 6.47. However, his performances are nothing to worry about at such a young age and it is only worth taking note of the fact he played 11 games, as it shows that his manager was willing to trust him despite his inexperience.
Earlier this year, County boss John Hughes made a bold claim that Hjelde is going to be the next Van Dijk, with the Dutchman now at Liverpool. He said:
“Leo is going to be the next Van Dijk – trust me on that.
“The quality he has shown, the physical challenge, playing real men’s football and standing up to it – it’s been a wonderful experience for Leo.
“Before he came, Leeds United were after him. I think he had to sign an extension to his contract for the loan to go through.”
Therefore, fans would be gutted if Celtic allowed the 17-year-old powerhouse to depart easily, as he could be the next star player on the production line.
Instead of selling him or watching him run down his contract, the Hoops could offer him first-team opportunities in the hope that he grasps them and does become the next Van Dijk.
Postecoglou must do all he can to keep him, or he’ll be facing fury from the Celtic Park faithful…
AND in other news, Celtic must axe £14k-p/w beast whose career is in “freefall”, his time’s up…