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England international close to becoming first signing of Marcelo Bielsa era at Leeds United
Friday, 29th Jun 2018 09:57 by @LucasMonk_

Leeds United are, according to the Yorkshire Evening Post, close to concluding a deal that will see England Under-21 international and Chelsea midfielder Lewis Baker move to Elland Road.

Negotiations between United and Chelsea have progressed well, meaning that Baker, 23, could very well become the club's first signing of the summer transfer window.

Though Leeds hold a putative interest in a permanent transfer, the possibility of a season-long loan deal has also been discussed. Baker has already been loaned to four different clubs since joining Chelsea's academy from Luton Town in 2005, and thus lists Sheffield Wednesday, Milton Keynes Dons, Vitesse Arnhem and Middlesbrough as former clubs.

WIthout question, his greatest achievements to date have come in the colours of Vitesse in a spell that spanned across both the 2015-16 and 2016-17. Baker excelled in the Eredivisie, making 64 appearances and scoring 15 goals in addition to helping Vitesse win the KNVB Cup for the first time in the club's history, with the 23-year-old finishing as the top goalscorer in the competition.

Baker's scintillating form in the Netherlands prompted Chelsea to offer him a five-year contract last summer, which he duly signed - but another loan spell with Middlesbrough last season proved an exasperating experience for him. In all, he made just 14 appearances on Teesside, scoring once.

His future at Stamford Bridge is now in doubt. Baker is now 23, and a fleeting appearance against Derby County in an FA Cup tie in January 2014 remains his only outing in a Chelsea shirt. Whilst his potential is vast, it has perhaps been latent for some time, and Baker himself appears anxious to secure regular first-team football elsewhere in a bid to kickstart his career.

The Yorkshire Evening Post claim that, if Leeds and Chelsea reach an agreement, Baker would be willing to move to Elland Road in spite of rival interest, and with encouraging discussions between the clubs having taken place this week, it appears highly probable that the midfielder will become the first capture of the Marcelo Bielsa era.

Photo: Action Images

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