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Leeds transfer: Whites reportedly eye 'next van Dijk'

Leeds United are eyeing a move for Celtic youngster Leo Hjelde, who has been compared with Virgil van Dijk, according to a report from the Yorkshire Evening Post.

As noted by the YEP, Olly Casey looks set to leave Elland Road this summer. The under-23 stalwart is reportedly edging closer to a permanent move to Blackpool.

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Casey’s path to the first-team is blocked by a number of senior centre-back options. But that will not prevent Leeds setting their sights on bolstering their youth ranks this summer.

According to a report from the Yorkshire Evening Post, Leeds are monitoring Hjelde.

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The 17-year-old spent some of last season on loan with Ross County. And as noted by the Yorkshire Evening Post, he received huge praise from their then-boss John Hughes.

Hughes told BBC Sport that Hjelde is set to be the ‘next van Dijk’. He also claimed that Leeds had shown interest in January.

“Leo is going to be the next Van Dijk – trust me on that,” he told BBC Sport.

“The quality he has shown, the physical challenge, playing real men’s football and standing up to it – it’s been a wonderful experience for Leo.

“Before he came, Leeds United were after him. I think he had to sign an extension to his contract for the loan to go through.”

Hjelde could be inspired addition for Leeds after van Dijk comparison

It says a lot that Hughes was prepared to make such a comparison at this stage of Hjelde’s career.

Most managers would surely publicly play down just how much potential a 17-year-old has.

That should excite Leeds fans amid links with the Norwegian. He is still awaiting his Celtic debut. But he has impressed in the Scottish Premiership.

It is frightening to think of the level he could reach. So if there is a deal to be done, Leeds have to bring him to Thorp Arch.

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