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Leeds continue to strengthen the squad for the new season
Sunday, 25th Jul 2021 13:04 by Tim Whelan

Victor Orta is still hard at work to attract some back-up players that we may need over the coming season. Lewis Bate has already signed on the dotted line to join us from Chelsea, and two loan moves might be completed in the next few days.

Lewis Bate has arrived at Elland Road as a permanent transfer, for an undisclosed fee, and he has signed a three-year contract. He is only 18 and will initially be a part of the under 23 side, but it is hoped he will be challenging for a first team place before too long. Last season he made 20 appearances for Chelsea at that level, and he has also won caps at youth level for England at both Under-17 and Under-18 age groups.

He had a few clubs chasing him, but he told LUTV he chose to come to Leeds as he thinks Bielsa’s methods are best suited to his style of play. “I'm delighted to have finally signed, it’s taken its time but I am glad to be here now. It’s a huge club with a big fan base that is wanting to succeed.”

“I am fast, as in how quick I think when the ball comes to me. I am a good passer I would say, and I like to get stuck in to put other teams under pressure. The way Leeds play on the ball is sharp, looking to get the ball forward as quickly as possible, and teams can’t handle that.”

Some would say that Chelsea is also a huge club with a big fan base, so presumably he has had to move away from Stamford Bridge to improve his prospects of getting some first team football. The Blues have a habit of losing talented young players who find their path blocked by a huge squad full of expensive signings.

Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne and Mo Salah were all at Stamford Bridge during the early part of their careers, but were allowed to leave for a fraction of the fees they would command today. And if Bate goes on to have a career to match any of this trio he would prove to be a very good signing indeed!

Perhaps Victor thinks he’s onto a good thing here, as we’re also supposed to be interested in another young Chelsea midfielder, in the shape of 21 year-old Conor Gallagher. But this deal would only be for a season-long loan. Gallagher was on loan at West Brom last season, and Chelsea now want to get him to sign a new contract before loaning him out for a season, as they can’t offer him a place in their first team squad this season.

Leeds need another central midfielder in the squad after the departure of Pablo, but we face competition from Crystal Palace for Gallagher’s signature. According to Football.London, Gallagher has already held talks with both clubs, and we are likely to know the outcome early next week.

And we also need a back-up goalkeeper, now that Kiko Casilla has gone to Elche on a season long loan. The name in the frame is Norwegian Under-21 international Kristoffer Klaesson, who is currently at Valerenga, and Orta flew to Norway last week for talks with the 20 year-old and his representatives.

The talks are said to have gone well, but we would need to secure a work permit before Klaesson could join Leeds. He has made over 50 appearances for Valarenga, but if he did come to Elland Road he would be second choice behind Illan Meslier. This is another potential deal that should be finalised in the next couple of days, so watch this space.

Photo: Action Images

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