Leeds United: Whites land Chelsea's Lewis Baker on loan in first summer swoop - a shrewd move?
Saturday, 30th Jun 2018 14:29 by @LucasMonk_
Leeds United have made their first foray into the transfer market under new head coach Marcelo Bielsa.
Leeds United have today confirmed the signing of coveted midfielder Lewis Baker, who has moved to Elland Road on a season-long loan. An England Under-21 international, Baker has been loaned to myriad clubs since joining Chelsea's academy from Luton Town in 2005, and has thus sported the colours of Sheffield Wednesday, Milton Keynes Dons, Vitesse and Middlesbrough.
Though Baker only featured sporadically at Hillsborough and Stadium MK, he excelled during two years in the Dutch Eredivisie with Vitesse, making 64 league appearances, scoring 15 goals and lifting the KNVB Cup in 2016-17.
A lucrative five-year contract with the Blues and a fallow spell with Middlesbrough, one that yielded just 14 appearances and two goals, followed, meaning that Baker, 23, has most certainly arrived at Elland Road with a point to prove.
Analysis: Lew's move makes shrewd sense - for both player and club
United supporters may have had to wait a little longer than perhaps they would have liked for the club to make their first foray into the market, but the capture of Baker on loan is a move redolent of prudence and pragmatism.
Without question, the precocious Baker, an ambidextrous, goal-scoring midfielder, possesses vast potential, and his fruitful spell in Arnhem made this patently clear, as does the fact that Chelsea opted to offer him a new five-year contract after its completion.
Though Leeds had the wherewithal to conclude a permanent deal, the club is anxious to avoid making expensive mistakes in the transfer market. Baker would not command a precipitous fee, but it would still be an appreciable sum, and given that he scarcely featured for Middlesbrough last season, it is not difficult to see why United may have had misgivings regarding a permanent transfer.
A loan is mutually beneficial. Having secured Baker's services on a temporary basis, Leeds can ascertain his qualities and assess his suitability for both their squad and the division at large, whilst Baker now has the opportunity to make good on his undoubted potential by establishing himself in the first-team squad.
If he excels, United can pursue a permanent deal, and if he flounders, they can simply allow him to return to Chelsea with no punitive sum having to be paid.
Photo: Action Images
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