Report: Leeds make progress in transfer talks for Celtic youngster Leo Hjelde

By David Walton

August 11, 2021

Leeds United have managed to make progress in their bid to sign talented Celtic youngster Leo Hjelde, the Yorkshire Evening Post reports.

Leeds were first linked with a move for the Norwegian defender back in mid-June. Back then, it was said that the EPL club were monitoring the centre-back [Yorkshire Evening Post].

Since then, Hjelde has been receiving regular minutes with the first-team in pre-season friendly action. However, he’s yet to play a competitive minute in any of our five matches so far this season.

And now, the Post reports that Leeds have made a breakthrough in discussions after weeks of stalemates with Celtic. It’s unclear what stage the deal is at, but the English outlet claims it’s moved the EPL club closer to a deal.

Hjelde has captained the Celtic B side in their last two Lowland League matches. However, it could be the case that he’s set to head for pastures new down south.

The report also states that Leeds’ interest in Celtic under-18s’ defender Matthew Anderson has been rebuffed by the Hoops.

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Leeds United move hardly a big step up for Celtic starlet

It’s difficult to see, outside of financial incentives, as to why Hjelde would be itching to seal this move. You simply can’t dismiss the improvements and progress that he’s made in Scottish football.

He impressed massively during his first ever loan spell with Ross County last season. At only 18, he was labelled by former boss John Hughes as the next Virgil van Dijk [BBC].

Just because he isn’t getting minutes now doesn’t mean he isn’t on the right path. He’s now working under a manager that’s all for youth integration. Why would he want to leave when he knows performances with the B team will earn him a promotion to the senior squad?

Photo by Rob Casey/SNS Group via Getty Images

You could understand the move if he was being pushed into Marcelo Bielsa’s squad. But that doesn’t appear to be the case. The Yorkshire Evening Post state that he’s being lined up as a replacement for Oliver Casey, who signed for Blackpool. In other words, he’s being tossed down to the youth ranks.

Hjelde has a much better chance of career progression if he stays in Scotland. Seldom do we see youngsters from EPL academies get the opportunities they deserve. With Postecoglou willing to put some faith in Celtic’s youngsters, Hjelde needs to have a careful think about what he wants to do here.

His career trajectory could depend on it.

In other news, Report: Leeds make progress in transfer talks with Celtic youngster Leo Hjelde