This week saw Leeds United almost inadvertently linked with a move for Northern Ireland winger Gavin Whyte. The Belfast Telegraph reported him as a Leeds United target in a match report after his Crusaders side drew 1-1 with Cliftonville in the NIFL Premiership.
Whyte has had a fantastic season with his club. The winger has scored 24 goals in 43 appearances this season. In the past, the likes of Everton, Celtic and Dundee United have all been linked with the player so Leeds would be smart to bring him over to England while they can.
Of course, there is bound to be some trepidation among Leeds fans.
They want to see players with Championship experience arriving at Elland Road this summer. Bigger names who can help Leeds push for the play-offs is the desire for most fans at Leeds. Whilst Whyte is an interesting prospect, he is unproven in English football and Leeds should not bring him in.
But signing players from Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland can be a massive success. Stuart Dallas, who joined Brentford from Crusaders, is one fine example and is now a consistent performer at Leeds United.
The recent match against Preston North End should also have Leeds fans thinking. Leeds lost that game 3-1. One goal apiece was shared by Preston players Sean Maguire and Alan Browne. The former has scored 10 times since heading to Deepdale from Cork City in September of last year. Browne has also been a revelation at Preston. He joined from Cork in 2014 and has now established himself as a regular in the Preston line-up. It has certainly done Alex Neil’s team no harm, as they remain in the hunt for the Championship play-offs with two games remaining.
There once was a time when bringing over players from Irish football was a common theme in the Football League but that has recently been forgotten, with clubs looking into Europe instead.
But Whyte would be a cheaper alternative to many of the options in Spain, Germany and Italy that Leeds are likely to be linked with again this summer. He would also already speak the language and relish the chance to play in England.
Signing Whyte could be a no risk all reward situation for Leeds and one they should capitalise on.