This week has seen Leeds United manager Paul Heckingbottom being linked with moves for three players he knows from his time at former club Barnsley. It was reported by the Sun (18/3 pg 60) that Leeds could make a triple swoop for striker Oliver McBurnie, defender Andy Yiadom and midfielder Joe Williams.
Heckingbottom signed Williams for Barnsley in the summer on loan from Everton. The 21-year-old has since made himself a mainstay in the team as the Tykes battle at the bottom of the Championship.
But whilst Williams would be an excellent recruit for Leeds, another Everton midfielder on loan in the Championship should also be considered. The player in question is Callum Connolly. The 20-year-old is currently enjoying a loan spell at Ipswich Town. Recently however, he made it clear he could leave Everton in the summer, telling Green’Un 24:
“Anything can happen. Let’s see what happens between now and the end of the season.
“Obviously I’m enjoying my football at Ipswich Town and I’ve been made to feel at home here, even though it is a long way from home.
“I’ve had contact with Everton, but not as much as I expected. I think they’ve just let me get on with my football.
“There hasn’t been as much support as I’ve wanted to be honest…”
Connolly would be another great acquisition by Leeds. The youngster has shown on his loan spell at Ipswich that he is more than capable at the Championship level.
The England under-20 World Cup winner is, like Williams, known to Heckingbottom. Connolly featured three times for Barnsley during a one-month loan deal back in March 2016. At the time Heckingbottom was the caretaker manager at Barnsley, later going on to secure their promotion to the Championship and the EFL Trophy.
Connolly is highly thought of at Everton by the fanbase but clearly the structure at Goodison Park at present has failed him. The 20-year-old, who has scored three times for Ipswich this season, is clearly concerned about where his career is going if he remains at Everton long into the future.
Not only is he a brilliant central midfield option, but Connolly is extremely versatile. He made his Everton debut as a right-back and can play as a wing-back or right midfielder if called upon.
Leeds have struggled at the back this season, so having another option in that area would also be a good reason to sign Connolly.
Williams would be a good addition from Leeds. But Connolly might in fact be the better option if Heckingbottom is looking to bring in a familiar face from the past.