An update has emerged on Leeds’ pursuit of Celtic defender Leo Hjelde, regarding the player’s thoughts on a potential move.
According to Football Insider, Leeds United have offered a contract to Celtic central defender Leo Hjelde, with his deal at the Scottish giants expiring next summer.
The report claims that he is interested in signing for the Yorkshire-based club, who believe he has huge potential to become a Premier League star in the future.
Bielsa will be buzzing with this news as it appears as though a transfer for Hjelde could be on the cards. The player wants to make it happen and Leeds are seemingly serious about completing a deal, given that they have already proposed a contract to him. Whether it happens this summer or not is a moot point as he is out of contract next year, which means that the Whites could bide their time and snap him up for a compensation fee.
Either way, Leeds would be bringing in a player with real potential to bolster the academy ranks. He would not be an addition with the first-team in mind immediately, allowing Bielsa to take his time with the defender and work with him on the training pitch with no expectations in the short-term. The centre-back only turns 18 next month and still has his entire career ahead of him, which Bielsa could love as he has the chance to help him fulfill his potential.
Earlier this year, Ross County boss John Hughes called him the next Virgil van Dijk and revealed that Leeds wanted him in January before the loan move to his club. 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.”
Hjelde has already experienced first-team football at a decent standard. He played 11 games on loan under Hughes at Ross County in the Scottish Premiership, averaging a dismal WhoScored rating of 6.47. His performance levels at the age of 17 at senior level are nothing to read into, though, and it is more important that he gets the experience under his belt.
Therefore, if Leeds can get him in the current window then a loan move to a local Football League club where he could play regular first-team football whilst still being able to train with Bielsa two or three times a week could be the perfect scenario. This would allow him to get the first-team experience to develop his game whilst also still being able to learn from the Argentine head coach on the training pitch.