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The myth about Leeds United’s Eunan O’Kane is being exposed

The Irishman is having a poor campaign with Leeds United.

Mathew Nash

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Leeds United ended their losing run at the weekend, drawing 2-2 with Reading at the Madejski Stadium. It could have been all three points though, if it was not for a Eunan O’Kane own goal.

It was a harsh moment for the Irishman, who has been one of the more publicly criticised Leeds players by the Elland Road faithful.

When signed by Garry Monk in August 2016 he was supposed to help Leeds in their bid for promotion. After all, O’Kane had experience of making it into the top-flight from his spell with Bournemouth.

IPSWICH, ENGLAND – JANUARY 13: Eunan O’Kane of Leeds United leaves the field after being sent off during the Sky Bet Championship match between Ipswich Town and Leeds United at Portman Road on January 13, 2018 in Ipswich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

But perhaps Leeds got it wrong by believing O’Kane had what it take to shore up their midfield.

O’Kane played a pivotal role in the rise of Bournemouth. He was a regular in their League One promotion campaign, where they finished second to Doncaster Rovers in 2012-13.

He then remained a regular as Bournemouth finished 10th in their first Championship campaign.

The following season and Bournemouth were promoted. However, O’Kane was not a regular. The Irishman only featured 11 times in the league that season, starting just eight times. O’Kane suffered ankle ligament damage that season. But even when fit, he could not usurp the likes of Harry Arter, Andrew Surman and Dan Gosling in the first-team.

Bournemouth’s Irish midfielder Eunan O’Kane (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal of the English FA Cup third round football match between Wigan Athletic and Bournemouth at The DW Stadium in Wigan, north-west England on January 5, 2013. AFP PHOTO/ANDREW YATES RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ?live? services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo credit should read ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images)

O’Kane was not a pivotal member of Bournemouth’s promotion charge. In fact, he didn’t play for the Cherries after January of that season.

He was then a bit-part player in the Premier League and Leeds are simply discovering O’Kane’s level. The 26-year-old is a very good League One player, and at best a mid-table Championship one.

Leeds signed O’Kane hoping he could take them to the Premier League, but such success was beyond the midfielder.

Leeds need to find their best midfield partnership and it may be that contains O’Kane for the time being. But if they want to challenge for promotion next season, the Irishman is probably not the answer.

Sports journalist based in Bristol. Previously spent five years writing for HITC Sport. Everton fan for my sins.

Leeds United

Leeds United round-up: Saiz wanted, Vydra and Hernandez deals rumble on, Machuca unveiled

All the latest news and gossip from Leeds United.

Mathew Nash

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Saiz-able offer

Leeds United are fending off admirers in Spanish talent Samuel Saiz. According to Fichajes, he was wanted by three La Liga clubs this summer. The talented playmaker has courted the interest of former club Huesca, Getafe and Valencia.

The latter are said to have made a bid of £8.9 million for his services, whilst Getafe have also made Leeds an offer.

However, the report claims that Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa has absolutely no desire to sell the 27-year-old, who he sees as key to Leeds’ hopes this season.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Demands must change

Leeds have not yet given up on signing either Matej Vydra or Abel Hernandez this summer, according to YEP journalist Phil Hay.

Leeds offered a contract to free agent Hernandez and had a £11 million bid accepted for Czech talent Vydra.

However, both could not agree on personal terms with Leeds as finances proved a major stumbling block.

Hay claims that no deal will go through unless either player drops their demands.

Machuca unveiled

Alejandro Machuca has been unveiled by his new club, after leaving Leeds on loan. The under-23 star has joined Burgos of Spain’s third-tier for the upcoming season.

The attacker was signed last July from Rayo Vallecano and played a prominent role in Carlos Corberan’s team last season.

He will now hope for regular football back in Spain.

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Leeds United

Leeds United reject Samuel Saiz bid but valuation can’t be far off being met

Three La Liga clubs want to sign Samuel Saiz from Leeds this summer.

Mathew Nash

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Leeds United appear to have a fight on their hands keeping hold of Samuel Saiz this summer. Fichajes reports that three teams in La Liga want the Spanish playmaker.

His former club Huesca are said to be keen. However, it is Getafe and Valencia who appear the most dangerous threats. The latter have even reportedly offered a fee close to €10 million (£8.9 million) for his services.

The report claims that new Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa is not willing to sell Saiz this summer. He clearly sees the Spaniard as a crucial figure for the season ahead and rightly so.

The 27-year-old is one of the more naturally gifted talents in the Leeds first-team squad. Letting him leave would be a huge dent in the West Yorkshire side’s promotion plans.

(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

But whilst Leeds fans should revel in the club’s dismissal of these bids there will also be trepidation.

Whilst £8.9 million might not be enough, Leeds will struggle to reject much more.

Eventually, every player has a price and £8.9 million is getting pretty close to Saiz’s.

He was fantastic in the early parts of last season for Leeds. However, after receiving a six-game ban for spitting his momentum halted and his form dipped off.

At the moment Leeds can’t sell, as the club’s squad depth is too small. But if new recruits come in and that offer for Saiz goes in excess of £10 million, history would suggest Leeds will make a deal.

Hopefully, Leeds initial dismissal has put off the potential suitors for this summer.

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Five ins and outs Leeds United could complete this week

More signings are needed if Leeds are to push towards promotion.

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Leeds
Photo: Getty Images

Marcelo Bielsa’s reign at Leeds United has begun and signings at Elland Road are expected before the start of the new season.

The Whites are yet to sign anyone permanently this summer, instead bringing in Jamal Blackman and Lewis Baker on-loan from Chelsea, but that could change in the final weeks before the 2018-19 campaign begins.

Speculation on Leeds’ planned activity has been rife and there is indications that further additions are on the horizon, while departures from the Championship promotion hopefuls are also on the cards. Here, we have identified five deals that could be concluded this week.

Jordan Hugill – West Ham

After playing just 22 minutes of Premier League football for West Ham following a January switch from Preston, Jordan Hugill has been widely tipped for a return to the second-tier and The Sun has named Leeds as a potential destination.

Any move would likely be on-loan due to his expensive wages but luring Hugill to Leeds could be a difficult task, as he suggested to West Ham’s official website that he is determined to make an impression on new boss Manuel Pellegrini.

However, Football.London understands he will not be a part of Pellegrini’s plans heading into the new campaign and that increases the likelihood of a move.

(Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

Caleb Ekuban to leave

Leeds United took a major risk in the market last summer by signing Ghana striker Caleb Ekuban from Chievo after his breakthrough campaign on-loan with Albanian side FK Partizani and he has failed to make an impact.

The 24-year-old forward scored just one goal in 20 Championship appearances with the Whites last term and is understood to be surplus to requirements in the mind of Bielsa, the Yorkshire Evening Post has reported.

GhanaSoccer has claimed FK Partizani are keen on re-signing the striker, who scored 17 goals in 34 appearances during the 2016/17 campaign, and Leeds are unlikely to stand in the way of an exit.

Tom Hamer – Oldham Athletic

Leeds have long been regarded as a hotbed for young talent and has helped some of the best to develop at Elland Road, including a number of England’s World Cup squad, and Bielsa looks intent on building on that belief.

The Sun on Sunday (22/07, page 58) claims Leeds are readying a bid for 18-year-old Oldham Athletic defender Tom Hamer after his breakthrough campaign in the third-tier last season, where he excelled despite the Owls’ relegation to League Two.

An initial bid of £200k is being touted, with the Whites set to include more in bonuses, but Leeds face a challenge to secure his signature as it is stated a number of Premier League clubs are sniffing around.

(Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

Eunan O’Kane to leave

Eunan O’Kane was a frustrating player for many at Elland Road last season and, despite a number of poor performances, retained his spot in the starting line-up; although it appears that will not be the case under Bielsa.

The Yorkshire Evening Post states that O’Kane has been deemed as not good enough by the new Leeds manager and is now set for a departure from the Yorkshire giants – although they do not mentioned any suitors for the 28-year-old.

“It’s a really impressive club and it’s moving in the right direction.”

Eunan O’Kane after signing a four-year deal 12 months ago.

Phil Foden – Manchester City

Widely-regarded to be one of the finest young prospects within English football, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola rates Phil Foden extremely highly and seemed to be initially against a departure for the teenager on-loan.

However, LeedsLive claims the door has been opened for Marcelo Bielsa to take advantage of his relationship with Guardiola after comments from the Citizens’ boss suggested Foden, alongside Ibrahim Diaz, could be sent on-loan for the forthcoming campaign.

18-year-old Foden made five Premier League appearances during Manchester City’s title-winning success last term and made his debut for the England U19 side earlier this year, after winning the U17 World Cup with the Three Lions in 2017.

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