Leeds United will not be pursuing a deal for Northern Ireland talent Gavin Whyte this summer. The NIFL Player of the Year has been linked with a move to West Yorkshire all summer long. After scoring 22 goals in 38 games for Crusaders, helping them win the national title, Leeds were soon linked with his signature – including this report from Sky Sports.
But the Yorkshire Evening Post made it clear yesterday that any apparent approach or interest in the player is no more.
It seems the interest from Leeds may have never been as intense as first mentioned. It will no doubt disappoint the player himself. He told the Belfast Telegraph this week how he is determined to make a move to England this summer:
“I think it’s the right time to go. I’m 22, I don’t think I had a better year than what I had this year so I think I need to go now, and he knows that.”
That may very well happen, but it won’t be with Leeds.
So are Leeds right not to pursue his signature?
There was a lot of comparison with fellow former Crusaders winger and current Leeds star Stuart Dallas when this interest was first reported. He has found success for himself over in England, but he did not move straight to a club the size of Leeds.
Instead, Dallas joined Brentford who were then in League One. He also had to have a loan spell in League Two with Northampton Town before he started to look like the real deal.
Whyte will have to take a similar path if he wants to play in the Championship.
On the one hand, you can see why Leeds should have maybe taken a gamble on the player. But the likelihood is that Whyte is not yet ready to play in the second-tier of English football.
Instead, he needs to start lower down and prove himself ready to make the move up to the Championship.
He might do that at whatever club he does join this summer. If he does, then Leeds might come calling again next summer or in the future. For now, a dream move to Leeds will have to wait until he has proven himself across the Irish Sea.