The Yorkshire Evening Post’s Graham Smyth has revealed that Leeds United starlet Niall Huggins could be set for an exit from Elland Road in this summer transfer window.
Smyth had previously indicated that the young left-back was someone who was prepared to fight for his place at the club and be a part of Marcelo Bielsa’s Premier League squad this season.
The journalist said: “A number of the 23s, inspired by what Pascal Struijk did quite unexpectedly last season in seizing a first-team opportunity and accruing a huge number of Premier League minutes, have set their hearts on staying put to try and do the same. Niall Huggins is among those preferring to stay put than head out on loan.”
But now, Smyth has claimed Huggins could be on his way out of the club on a permanent basis, adding: “The Yorkshire Evening Post understands an offer from a Championship club is on the table and Blackburn Rovers’ interest in the Wales Under-21 international is well documented, but nothing is imminent.
“Huggins signed a new contract last season, one that runs to the summer of 2023 but it would now be a surprise if he is still at Elland Road to see it through to expiration.”
In a recent poll done on FFC about whether Huggins deserves a chance to impress in the first team next season in the Premier League, 77% of Leeds fans who answered, said yes (135 votes to 41).
While the 20-year-old may have made just one outing in the top flight last term – he was however a key member of the U23s squad under Mark Jackson which won the Premier League 2 Division 2 title (he scored twice and provided one assist in 17 games).
Leeds’ midfield talisman Kalvin Phillips has previously tipped Huggins for a bright future at Elland Road, saying just last summer: “We’ve got a few younger lads called Niall Huggins and Alfie McCalmont. They’re really good young players as well. They’ll be in the team in the next year or so, definitely.”
Keeping Huggins around as a potential squad option, or even just allowing him to build up experience away on loan, would surely be the right call here, especially given his age.
Instead, Leeds are making a ruthless call on someone who hasn’t yet been given a proper opportunity to shine in the first-team. While Junior Firpo may have arrived from Barcelona, the Whites still look short on natural left-back options, especially with Gjanni Alioski of course having departed in the summer.
Getting rid of Huggins permanently would surely not have Leeds fans happy. At just 20, he’s got all the time in the world to develop into a fine player, and the Whites should give him the chance to do so.