The Yorkshire Evening Post’s Graham Smyth has dropped an encouraging update on Leeds United’s pursuit of Celtic starlet Leo Hjelde.
Back in June, reports claimed that Marcelo Bielsa’s side were monitoring the young centre-back ahead of a potential summer move for him.
And now, Smyth has said: “Leeds United have made progress in their attempt to sign teenage defender Leo Hjelde from Celtic.
” The Yorkshire Evening Post reported Leeds’ interest in the son of former Nottingham Forest defender Jon Olav back in June and negotiations between the two clubs have finally progressed after weeks of stalemate, allowing the Whites to move closer to a deal.”
The 17-year-old joined fellow Scottish side Ross County on loan, and the club’s boss, John Hughes, has admitted that he could have linked up with Bielsa in the Premier League instead.
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.”
While he may only be 17, Hjelde is clearly someone with a lot of potential, and Hughes has placed a lot of faith in him by using him in multiple positions, including at left-back and further forward in left-midfield.
And, after seeing him score his first professional goal against Kilmarnock earlier last season, the manager was quick to shower him with praise.
He said: “He found himself out of the team a little bit, then came on there and got his goal. He’s destined for big, big, big things. He won’t be far away from the Celtic first-team when he goes back, but this is what he needs to be doing.”
Clearly, Hjelde is seen as a big prospect and who is set for a great future in the game, and his signing is just another statement from Leeds that they are keen on strengthening their academy with talents from elsewhere.
The club have already snapped up the likes of Amari Miller from Birmingham City, and Hjelde could be the next player to follow in those footsteps.
It’s yet more exciting news for the club.