The winter transfer window had been closed for a matter of hours when for the first time in weeks, a reputable source had a reliable form of Leeds transfer news.
January had been a quiet one for Victor Orta and after previous sagas, you can forgive the Spaniard and Marcelo Bielsa for wanting to stick with that they have, rather than twist.
Though, as suspected, Leeds already have some targets in mind for the summer, with The Athletic’s Phil Hay revealing that one of them is Brest left-back Romain Perraud.
The 23-year-old is enjoying a breakthrough campaign in Ligue 1, contributing to eight goals in just 21 outings from defence, and with that kind of statistic in mind, it’s hardly a surprise to see Leeds want to sign him.
The Frenchman typifies a Bielsa player, especially one at full-back, and with Gjanni Alioski’s contract running down, looking for replacements isn’t a bad idea.
However, rather than look towards Perraud, Orta could save millions in the summer market if Bielsa chooses to unleash 20-year-old Niall Huggins.
The left-sided player signed a new contract with the club in December and is making waves under Mark Jackson for the U23s.
A versatile youngster, Huggins is capable of playing at left-back, further forward on the wing or even up front. A player blessed with sheer pace, he’s been making immense strides in 2020/21.
He was the 19th man when Leeds played Everton and has received glowing endorsements from Ian Harte throughout the season.
Harte also revealed his delight after the full-back scored against Sunderland earlier this week. Huggins dashed forward down the left and got on the end of Jamie Shackleton’s cross before smashing it home.
🔥 Even the U23s love a counter attack! pic.twitter.com/KbyZ4RFMJy
— Leeds United (@LUFC) February 1, 2021
It was an impressive finish but one that showed his outstanding qualities in the final third. He played further forward on that occasion and earned a rave review from Leeds Live reporter Joe Donnohue.
He wrote at full-time: “A willing utility man like Niall Huggins will certainly go a long way in this Leeds United team. Today, deployed in the centre of midfield, Huggins was key to keeping moves ticking and supporting attacks with his sharp third-man runs.”
Donnohue continued: “In the second half, Huggins tucked back in to left-back as Leif Davis was withdrawn at the break. His effort levels were a class above, as he is almost every week. If he continues in this vein, he will not be far off more regular first-team squad involvement.”
We know Bielsa loves a versatile individual – just look at Alioski who’s played over 100 times for the Leeds boss – and Huggins is showing week in week out that he can play in a host of different positions. He is blessed with tremendous tenacity but also has the composure to defend well in one-on-one situations.
It surely won’t be long before we see him involved more in the first-team. He is too good not to be unleashed by Bielsa, and is a young talent that may be worth utilising rather than spending millions on a more established player like Perraud.