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Callum Nicell: The next breakthrough Leeds United talent?

Leeds United have produced plenty of top young talent in recent years, is 18-year-old Irishman Callum Nicell next?

Mathew Nash

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Photo: Getty Images

Leeds United’s topsy-turvy season continues on Friday night, weather permitting, with a clash against Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium.

The tie will see former Boro man Adam Forshaw go up against his former employers. The 26-year-old was brought in by Leeds to strengthen an area which has been a primary concern this season.

Eunan O’Kane has had a poor campaign by his standards. Kalvin Phillips is currently too inconsistent to command a starting position for Leeds. Ronaldo Vieira has had a tough season, complicated by a tendonitis issue.

The centre of the park has been a major issue for Leeds this season.

So perhaps bringing in some fresh blood could be the answer for Paul Heckingbottom?

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

The player in question is 18-year-old central midfielder Callum Nicell, who could have a bright career ahead of himself at Leeds.

Fans of Leeds who follow their development and under-18 side will already be familiar with Nicell. The teenager is standing out as a potential first-teamer in the making. Leeds have a fine recent history for producing quality central midfielders. Nicell could certainly be the next name off the production line.

Garry Monk was a fan, having him travel and participating in a warm-up or two with the first-team whilst Leeds boss. It is easy to see why. The Republic of Ireland youth international has all the attributes to thrive in professional football.

Adept with both feet, Nicell has shown an ability to control a game from midfield. He is also not afraid to make late runs into the box, making him a goal threat as well.

(Photo by Harry Murphy/Getty Images)

Last season Nicell won the academy player of the year and has been captain of the under-18s. Leeds clearly think a lot of the talented Irishman, which was made evident by him joining in first-team training last month.

Throwing Nicell into first-team action with the play-offs still a target is perhaps not wise. However, if Leeds feint promotion hopes dwindle further Heckingbottom must consider giving the teenager a first-team debut this season.

Given the talent Nicell has demonstrated so far at Leeds, it could be the precursor to a breakout 2018-19 campaign.

Leeds United

Leeds’ loan signing of Jamal Blackman adds much-needed goalkeeping depth

Max Cohen

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Jamal Blackman
Photo: Getty Images

On Monday, Leeds United announced the loan signing of goalkeeper Jamal Blackman from Chelsea.

The 24-year-old Englishman represents an astute signing on Marcelo Bielsa’s part, adding much-needed depth and Championship experience to the squad.

This summer, the Yorkshire club have seen nine players depart Elland Road, including goalkeepers Felix Wiedwald and Andy Lonergan.

As a result of this large turnover, the Whites have been left extremely short-staffed between the sticks, with only 21-year-old Bailey Peacock-Farrell in the mix with meaningful first-team experience.

Blackman is a smart addition to the squad as it is clear more goalkeeping options are needed, and it would be naive to allow Peacock-Farrell to occupy the undisputed number one spot when he only has 12 Championship appearances to his name.

Although the youngster’s performances during the final months of last season showed his impressive potential, Peacock-Farrell nevertheless conceded 18 goals and kept just a solitary clean sheet in 11 matches.

(Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

In future seasons, the 21-year-old will be trusted with the starting spot but, for now, Jamal Blackman is a more effective option and can teach Peacock-Farrell about goalkeeping in the Championship.

Blackman made 31 appearances for Sheffield United last season, steering the Blades to an impressive tenth-placed finish, nine points above Leeds. The goalkeeper kept nine clean sheets and only conceded 34 goals, a laudable feat.

In addition, Chelsea experts think highly of the goalkeeper, as the club has continued to hold to his services permanently after numerous loan spells – perhaps indicating they hold out hope he can perform for the Blues at a top level one day.

Speaking to Leeds Live, football.london Chelsea writer Oliver Harbord praised Blackman’s saving abilities.

“He comes with the reputation of being a top shotstopper with some excellent reactions.”

In all, the season-long loan signing of Jamal Blackman is a smart piece of business from Leeds, bolstering their threadbare goalkeeping options with a highly-rated young shot-stopper.

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Did Marcelo Bielsa not want Kyle Bartley at Leeds United?

The former Leeds loanee has joined West Brom.

Mathew Nash

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Some Leeds United fans were left disappointed today when it became clear that Kyle Bartley will not be heading back to Elland Road. The defender is instead on his way to West Brom, joining in a deal eventually worth up to £6 million.

It is something of a strange transfer miss from Leeds, considering they looked so likely to sign the player earlier this summer.

It was April when Leeds were first linked with his signature. That transfer link remained throughout several differing problems. Swansea were relegated, but Leeds remained keen. Carlos Carvalhal left Swansea, but a deal still looked likely. Leeds sacked Paul Heckingbottom but Bartley still appeared to be a Leeds target.

(Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

The rumours only dried up after Marcelo Bielsa was appointed.

So it would be reasonable to hypothesize that Bielsa might be the man who decided Bartley was no longer right for Leeds.

A star for the club in 2016-17 he had an injury-troubled spell last term. But it could simply be that Bielsa is not a fan. He and Victor Orta may already have their eyes on someone else.

Leeds fans are rightly a cautious bunch, considering the turmoil their owners have put them through in the past. But this summer some patience and trust might be needed if Bielsa is to bring any success to Elland Road.

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Leeds United news round-up: Bartley goes elsewhere, Blackman signs and Radrizzani ends Bari deal

All the latest news and gossip from Leeds United.

Mathew Nash

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Bartley disappointment

Leeds will not be signing Kyle Bartley this summer. The long linked central defender has instead joined West Brom in a deal worth an eventual £6 million, as reported by the Birmingham Mail.

Leeds had been in contact with Swansea City earlier in the summer about the potential of snapping up Bartley. Leeds fans were very impressed with the rumour, as Bartley remains a fan favourite because of his form at Elland Road during a 2016-17 loan campaign.

But the defender will now be a rival in the Championship next season with the recently relegated Baggies.

(Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)

Blackman signs

Leeds have finally solved their goalkeeping problem for next season. Jamal Blackman has arrived on a season-long loan deal from Chelsea.

The 24-year-old spent last season on loan at Sheffield United and rejected a move to Vitesse Arnhem to make a move to West Yorkshire.

Leeds needed a new keeper after letting both Felix Wiedwald and Andy Lonergan go recently.

Radrizzani will not be a saviour

Yesterday it was being reported that Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani was set to save Italian side Bari from extinction.

He was reportedly putting together a saviour package for the Serie B club who are in serious financial trouble.

However, as reported by La Repubblica, that will no longer be happening.

New debts have been discovered at the club and Radrizzani has therefore pulled out of any deal.

Sadly, Bari are now expected to be liquidated

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