Report: Premier League side eye move for Celtic youngster Leo Hjelde

By Euan Davidson

June 17, 2021

Celtic youngster Leo Hjelde is on a list of targets for Premier League outfit Leeds United, according to reports.

The Yorkshire Evening Post claim that the Lilywhites are keen on the Norwegian prospect. Having spent the second half of 20-21 on loan with Ross County, he’s been tipped for a huge career. John Hughes compared the defender to Virgil van Dijk, tipping him for “big, big things” in the future.

For his own part, Hjelde seems keen on making an impact at Celtic. He told Youth Football Scotland TV:

“The first-team at Celtic is world-class. They play Europa League, should be playing Champions League because of the size of the club.

“Next year I want to contribute to the team, if it’s possible.”

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However, with the big money on offer in the Premier League, it’s natural that Hjelde could consider his options. The Yorkshire Evening Post suggest that the 17-year-old may be used in Leeds’ Premier League 2 side. While it’s a decent level, Hjelde is far closer to the first team where he is.

With Shane Duffy gone, Kristoffer Ajer set to move on and Jullien still injured, there’s a very strong possibility Hjelde could feature prominently in the initial stages of Celtic’s season. Ange Postecoglou has no fears about playing youth players, either.

Celtic need to say no to Premier League approach

It’d be a huge disappointment if another of our prospects was snatched away. While Hjelde’s commitment to Celtic seems spot on, and he sounds ambitious, he also needs to think about his long-term future. The career of a footballer is comparatively short, after all.

Celtic youngster Leo Hjelde / (Photo by Rob Casey/SNS Group via Getty Images)

However, as far as Celtic are concerned, they’ve surely got to rebuff any offer Leeds or anyone else makes. The one area we can’t afford to weaken is in defence, and although he’s young, Hjelde has already proven he can cut it at Premiership level.

At Ross County, he was part of a side that avoided relegation. John Hughes’ tactics, and the loan signing of Hjelde, turned a leaky defence into a more obstinate one.

With his undoubted potential, it’s important that the Bhoys keep ahold of the left-footed centre-back, who played 12 times for the Staggies in 20-21 [Transfermarkt]. First-team football could come far sooner for Hjelde in Glasgow than in Yorkshire, and Celtic desperately cannot afford to lose any more defenders.

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