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Leeds United fans must give credit to Victor Orta for under-23 squad

The Spanish director of football has brought in some great talent to the Leeds under-23 unit.

Mathew Coull

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It would be fair to say that Leeds United director of football Victor Orta is not the most popular man at Elland Road. Fans of the West Yorkshire side have continuously made their feelings about the Spaniard clear this season. His recruitment has been called into question, with several new signings failing to fire for Leeds in the Championship this season. In fact, it is hard to name any who have been consistently good all season after Samu Saiz’s recent dip in form.

But Leeds fans have to recognise one inconvenient truth about Orta … he has worked wonders with the under-23 recruitment.

Back in February former Leeds defender Ian Harte was publicly critical of the Leeds under-23s on Twitter. He felt the club was losing its identity and with it, the passion and desire to play for Leeds.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

At the time Leeds’ form at the youth level was middling. They were inconsistent and looked set for a bottom half campaign. But since that criticism, they have been fantastic. Carlos Corberan guided them to one defeat, and two draws from their final 10 games. Such blistering form saw Leeds finish the season in sixth position and hopes are high for the next generation of Leeds players.

Which is where Orta deserves credit. In their final under-23 game of the season against Bristol City, the Whites ran out comfortable 4-0 winners. Of the 15-player squad taken to Ashton Gate, 12 were brought to the club under Orta’s network.

Goalkeeper Kamil Miazek, defenders Bryce Hosannah, Pascal Struijk, Hugo Diaz, midfielders Jordan Stevens and Oriol Rey, strikers Sam Dalby and Alejandro Machuca and substitutes Oussama Siddiki, Adrian Balboa and Madger Gomes were all Orta signings this season. Only Tyler Denton, Ryan Shackleton and Harrison Male were at Leeds prior to Orta’s arrival.

Some fans have levelled criticism at Orta for his development of the youth-team over the seniors but he has built a solid base of young talent with the likes of Kun Temenuzhukov, Ryan Edmondson and Aapo Halme also worth keeping an eye on.

(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Leeds’ youth divisions had become thin in talent and the risk of losing the tradition of bringing through young players at the club was increasing.

Orta has done well to find a balance of bringing in talent from abroad as well as English players to create a solid Leeds United under-23 and under-18 unit – the latter of which recently won their respective league title.

Orta deserves plenty of criticism, but not for the work he has done with the under-23 unit.

Hopefully, he can now bring similar improvements to the current Leeds United first-team.

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Leeds United

Despite nightmare Sunderland season Brendan Galloway would be a hit at Leeds United

Leeds United may need to bring in a new left-back this summer.

Mathew Coull

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Last season started with renewed hope for Sunderland. The club were hoping to fight back from a woeful Premier League campaign and achieve promotion back to the top-flight. The club had a new manager and plenty of new players to help them in that pursuit. One of the new faces was Everton defender Brendan Galloway. He was signed on loan for the season by Simon Grayson, as Sunderland looked to strengthen their defensive resolve.

It ended up being an awful season both for Sunderland, and Galloway.

Sunderland suffered a second consecutive relegation, dropping to the third-tier of English football for only the second time in their history. Galloway, however, can certainly alleviate himself of much of the blame. He barely played a part in the campaign.

Galloway started the season in the team but soon found himself in the under-23s. He played just eight times for the first-team, his last appearance coming in December.

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

But his actual ability should not be forgotten if teams are looking for a left-back this summer, teams like Leeds United.

Leeds lost their star left-back last summer when Charlie Taylor joined Burnley. His replacement Cameron Borthwick-Jackson proved a flop and Laurens De Bock has struggled since his arrival. With the dwindling powers of Gaetano Berardi, youngster Tom Pearce has become the starting left-back.

But Leeds are fighting to keep hold of the youngster and this summer may need to consider another left-back. Galloway is the perfect option.

(during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Leeds United at Villa Park on April 13, 2018 in Birmingham, England.

The 22-year-old was a brilliant talent when he was at MK Dons and when he first entered the Everton fray fans at Goodison Park were very excited about his progress.

His career has certainly stalled since then, but Leeds could help get it back on track. The club did business with Everton last summer, bringing in Matthew Pennington on loan, and could, therefore, do so yet again.

Galloway needs to leave Everton in order to kickstart his career and Leeds have the right reason and opportunity to offer him.

He may have been a Sunderland flop, but Galloway still has plenty to offer at Championship level. Leeds United should seriously consider giving him that chance.

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Angus Gunn arrival is perhaps the best Bailey Peacock-Farrell can hope for

Leeds United are interested in signing the Manchester City youngster on loan.

Mathew Coull

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Leeds United are in the hunt for a new goalkeeper this summer. With Felix Wiedwald a flop and Andy Lonergan not faring much better, Paul Heckingbottom resorted to using academy ‘keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell at the end of last season.

The youngster carried himself with aplomb, but Leeds are still in need of another option. The player they have seemingly targeted for the role is Manchester City stopper Angus Gunn. Son of former Scotland international Bryan Gunn, the 22-year-old had an excellent season on loan at his old man’s former club Norwich City last season.

(Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

The Yorkshire Evening Post are reporting that Leeds are now set to swoop for the player. A season-long loan deal has been mooted and, considering the competition for places at Manchester City, there is not much stopping this deal from happening.

But what does it mean for Peacock-Farrell?

In fairness, this might actually be the best sort of goalkeeper recruit for the young Northern Irishman.

Leeds have been linked with other keepers, all of whom would arrive permanently. That would signal a massive barrier to the long-term progression of Peacock-Farrell.

Bringing in a permanent option would see him perhaps playing second fiddle for a few seasons. With the arrival of a similarly aged talent, Peacock-Farrell can compete with Gunn and the end result should hopefully be just an improvement to both players.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

If, for example, Leeds went and signed David Stockdale permanently, it would have left their young stopper mystified at his position with the club.

If Gunn arrives, it would be a different story. The pair could help each other grow and then, at the end of the season, the England under-21 stopper would head back to City. Peacock-Farrell will by then, hopefully, have improved to the point he can consider himself the natural heir to the Leeds United goalkeeping position.

It is tough to balance the goalkeeping position this summer for Leeds. A new recruit is needed but they do not want to alienate their talented current number one. A loan deal like this appears to be their best option.

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Abel Hernandez snubbing CSKA Moscow could spell imminent arrival at Leeds

The 27-year-old has a fine goal scoring record in England.

Josh Kerr

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Abel Hernandez
Photo: Getty Images

Leeds United fans will have been delighted to learn that one of their top transfer prospects Abel Hernandez has recently snubbed CSKA Moscow, as the 27-year-old’s agent told Championat.

The Yorkshire Evening Post report that the Whites have wanted to bring in Hernandez on a free transfer, and are drawing up a contract offer in a bid to lure him away from Hull City.

The 27-year-old boast an impressive record for the Tigers since his move from Palermo back in 2014, firing 29 goals in 45 Championship starts at the KCOM stadium.

He would be the perfect replacement at Leeds for former prolific goalscorer Chris Wood, who the club have failed to replace since his move to the Premier League with Burnley last summer.

Wood won the Championship golden boot in 2017, firing 27 league goals, and the loss of their talisman resulted in United only hitting the net 59 times in the Championship this season.

(Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

Hernandez has missed a huge chunk of the season for Hull with a knee injury, but returned for the final seven games of the season, scoring five and grabbing one assist to ensure the Tigers’ avoided the drop and finished 18th in the Championship.

The striker’s contract concludes this summer, which means that he can leave his current side as a free agent. With Leeds the front-runners to sign the Uruguayan it will surely get fans excited for the side manager Paul Heckingbottom could put together next season.

Despite him leaving Hull on a free transfer, Hernandez’s agent, Oscar Bentancourt, has put a significant price tag on the forward’s new deal, and this has caused the Urugyuan to reject an approach from Russian outfit CSKA Moscow.

It is suggested that the 27-year-old would prefer to remain in the English Football League and, if Leeds can meet his wage demands, they will have the opportunity to add a prolific scorer to their ranks.

Heckingbottom’s summer clear-out, combined with further additions, could see a more balanced Leeds, ready to launch a serious promotion charge – something the Yorkshire side have failed to do since their promotion from League One in 2010.

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