Leeds United are interested in a deal to bring Leon King to Elland Road.
That’s according to Fabrizio Romano, with the Italian journalist revealing in a recent post on Twitter that a host of clubs – including Leeds, Manchester United and Newcastle United – have been keeping a very close eye on the Glasgow Rangers centre-back ahead of launching a potential move for the 18-year-old at some point in the future.
The transfer insider went on to state that all three aforementioned clubs have sent scouts to watch the defender in action for the Scottish Premiership side this season, as well as revealing that the Scotland U21s international’s current contract at Ibrox is set to expire in the summer of 2024.
In his tweet, Romano said: “Many clubs are monitoring Rangers centre-back Leon King (2004) who started against Liverpool at Anfield, last week – he’s out of contract in June 2024. Manchester United, Newcastle and Leeds have already sent their scouts to follow King.”
Considering just how much hype there appears to be surrounding the future of King, it is not difficult to see why Victor Orta would be interested in a deal to bring the defender to Elland Road at some point in the future, especially with the club’s current Scottish leader at the back, Liam Cooper, now getting towards the twilight of his career at the top of the game.
Indeed, despite his tender age, King is already making something of a name for himself north of the border, having featured in all three of Rangers’ Champions League fixtures so far this season, including his first start in the competition in the 2-0 defeat against Liverpool last week – after which Jurgen Klopp took the time to praise the youngster.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of the return leg of the fixture this evening, the German manager said of the centre-back: “We scored two goals from set-pieces, which means left and right of them, they kept a clean sheet.
“[King] was in the last line, so it was definitely his credit as well. But an 18-year-old boy at Anfield for his first Champions League game? I’d say it was positive that he didn’t fall over the ball because of nerves. He played a good game and that says a lot about him.”
However, it is not only Klopp who has been impressed with the development of the teenager, as his own manager, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, also complimented the youngster in his own pre-match comments ahead of tonight’s game, stating:
“Leon is a player that is developing really well. He is performing really well in the minutes he has had. He is only 18 and is really open to coaching and working hard to better himself, his future is very bright.”
It is not difficult to understand why the £90k-rated talent has come in for such praise, as, despite Rangers’ three heavy defeats in the Champions League, the 18-year-old has still managed to impress, making an average of 2.7 tackles, 1.3 interceptions, 2.3 clearances and winning 3.7 duels – at a success rate of 50% – per game.
For comparison, over Cooper’s 21 Premier League appearances last season, the Leeds captain made an average of 2.0 tackles, 2.0 interceptions, 3.4 clearances and won 6.4 duels – at a success rate of 64% – per game.
And, with the Whites’ defender now 31 years of age, Orta will undoubtedly have already started his succession planning for the Scotland international, with King very much appearing to be something of a dream heir to Cooper’s throne at Elland Road.
Indeed, should the Spaniard manage to beat the likes of Newcastle and Manchester United to the youngster, spending a couple of years under Cooper’s wing in LS11 would most certainly help King develop into a Premier League-level centre-back in next to no time, before ultimately taking over from the 31-year-old in the heart of the Whites backline.