Leo Hjelde has been tipped to make an immediate return to Celtic this season after Leeds United completed their move for the exciting centre-back.
The Lowdown: Hjelde completes Leeds move
The Whites aren’t expected to make many more signings between now and the end of the transfer window, but Hjelde had been tipped to come in by the reliable Phil Hay.
The 18-year-old is considered a young player of huge potential, even being compared to Liverpool superstar Virgil van Dijk in the past.
The Whites confirmed a deal on Friday, revealing the youngster will ‘initially’ join up with Mark Jackson’s under-23 side. What happens after that is where this pundit’s prediction comes in.
The Latest: Mills makes key prediction
Speaking to Football Insider, former Leeds goalkeeper Paddy Kenny tipped Hjelde to go straight back to Celtic on loan after he joins, in order to get more chances at first-team football:
“We’ve seen Premier League teams are willing to pay good money for younger players and then loan them out.
“Leeds are showing that, like a lot of clubs, they can pay a lot for young players who aren’t necessarily gonna feature in the first team.
“They can send him out on loan because that is key to any player’s development. So that could be an option, he could even go back to Celtic.
“You can get them used to playing week in, week out against men in competitive matches. He’s obviously a superb player. It’s alright playing under-23s football but it’s not the same as the first-team game.”
The Verdict: Makes perfect sense
This is a decision that would make complete sense from a Leeds perspective, in terms of Hjelde’s development as a player.
The teenager would struggle for playing time at Elland Road, considering Liam Cooper, Robin Koch, Pascal Struijk and Diego Llorente would all be ahead of him in the centre-back pecking order currently.
Instead, maturing further as a player at Celtic would hopefully see him return to Leeds as a more rounded footballer, before becoming a squad player next season.
In other news, Leeds reportedly missed out on the signing of one hugely experienced player this summer. Read more here.
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