The Leeds United board have informed outcast defender Conor Shaughnessy that he is free to find a new club in January. Despite the fact his contract runs until next summer, Marcelo Bielsa and co have made it clear that he does not feature in the club’s plans moving forwards (via Football Insider).
The 24-year-old has slipped drastically down the pecking order at Elland Road and played no part in Leeds’ title-winning season. In fact, Shaughnessy hasn’t made a single appearance for the Whites since August 2018, during a cameo against Preston in the EFL Cup (via Transfermarkt).
He has since been loaned out on three separate occasions, joining the likes of Hearts and Burton on short-term deals. Whilst it makes sense to get rid of surplus players, Bielsa could be making a huge mistake.
Leeds have returned to the Premier League after 16 long years away. Their emphatic Championship-winning 2019/20 season started a whole new era for the club, but their return to the top flight hasn’t been smooth sailing.
Bielsa’s squad is currently stricken with injuries and they are without two of their summer signings. Both Robin Koch and Diego Llorente have been ruled out and it has forced the manager to deploy Luke Ayling in the middle of the defence to fill a gaping hole.
Whilst the 29-year-old has been doing a fine job, it doesn’t make sense for Bielsa to discard a perfectly good centre-back in 6 ft 3 colossus Shaughnessy. The versatile £7,000 per week defender could do well as an emergency back-up, especially given the high intensity of the Premier League.
They may not be in any trouble at the moment, but the relegation fight can be just as heated as the title fight and Leeds can’t afford to get sucked into a battle at the bottom of the table. Limiting their first team options could come back to bite them where it hurts if injuries continue to be a problem for Bielsa.