The transfer window may be over but the benefits of Victor Orta’s business throughout the summer for Leeds United may not be apparent for many more months, potentially even years, to come.
He brought in a host of young, exciting talents to bolster Jesse Marsch’s squad, including the likes of Brenden Aaronson, Luis Sinisterra, Wilfried Gnonto, and Tyler Adams, among others.
Seven of their summer recruits are aged 25 or younger and five of them are yet to reach the age of 24. This means that the Whites may yet reap the rewards of the transfer window just gone for more than just the 2022/23 campaign, as they grow alongside the club.
However, signing those players is not the only way in which Leeds are looking to build their future. They also sent some of their own homegrown talents out on loan to develop and hone their skills.
One of their gems in the pipeline who could be a valuable player in the future is young centre-back Charlie Cresswell, who is currently on loan at Millwall in the Championship.
The machine could be the eventual heir to Liam Cooper’s position for the Whites if he is able to continue his strong form in the second tier and then given a chance to prove himself in the Premier League by Jesse Marsch.
This time next year, Cooper will be 32 and into the final year of his contract at the club, and this could open the door for Cresswell to take his place in the squad.
The Scotland international has played 46 times in the Premier League since the Whites’ promotion to the top flight in 2020 and is closing in on 250 appearances for Leeds in all competitions since his move from Chesterfield in 2014.
He may be coming towards the end of his career at Elland Road, and 20-year-old Cresswell could be his natural successor at centre-back. The youngster has enjoyed a strong start to life on loan at Millwall and is showing signs that he has the potential to make the step up, if he can remain consistent over the course of the campaign.
Cooper averaged a SofaScore rating of 7.07 in his last season in the second tier with Leeds in 2019/20 as he made 3.2 tackles and interceptions per match and won 60% of his battles in the air – making 38 appearances in total – before playing a big role in the following two campaigns in the top flight.
Cresswell’s current form suggests that he may be on a similar path, and that is why Marsch could find the Scotsman’s heir by unleashing the Millwall loanee next season.