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Medical booked in as Leeds agree deal to sign ‘next Virgil van Dijk’

Leeds United are reportedly on the verge of securing the signing of Leo Hjelde after agreeing a fee with Celtic.

The Norway youth international – who turns 18 on August 26 – will make the switch to Elland Road, providing he passes a medical. As per Football Insider, Celtic are now resigned to losing Hjelde and quickly agreed a deal with Leeds over his sale.

The 17-year-old is out of contract at Celtic Park next summer. And the Bhoys’ attempts to secure him to a new deal have ultimately failed.

Instead, Hjelde will move to West Yorkshire, where the club has been aware of his talents for some time.

They were in the mix to sign him back in 2019 when he moved to Scotland from Rosenborg.

While he is yet to make a senior appearance, he was thought to be pushing for a first-team place this season.

Instead, the Nottingham-born star – and the son of former Forest player Jon Olav Hjelde – will link up with the Premier League side.

Hjelde will become Leeds’ seventh summer signing and their fourth youth addition to Mark Jackson’s U23s.

Midfielder Lewis Bate, and forward duo Amari Miller and Sean McGurk have also been snapped up.

In terms of first-team stars, Leeds have so far signed just Jack Harrison – on a permanent deal from Man City – and Junior Firpo from Barcelona.

Leeds will have high hopes for Hjelde can soon make the first-team breakthrough.

Having spent the last half of last season on loan with Ross County, their former manager John Hughes was in awe of his qualities.

Indeed, he compared him to Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk, who also made his name at Celtic.

Hughes told BBC Sport the Norwegian is a “massive talent” who “is going to be the next Virgil van Dijk, trust me on that”.

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Leeds summer signing can be world class

The major new addition to the Leeds ranks, of course, is Junior Firpo.

Signed from Barcelona, Leeds will have high hopes the former Spain U21 international will be a huge success at Elland Road.

Subject to fitness, he should make his debut against Manchester United this Saturday.

And he prepares for the game with a ringing endorsement from Leeds chief executive Angus Kinnear.

“We’re delighted with the transfer of Junior,” Kinnear told the Square Ball podcast.

“I think we have a world class left-back, who was hugely highly regarded before he signed for Barcelona.

“I don’t think Barcelona worked out in the way he would have hoped. But he’s been a brilliant addition already in terms of behind the scenes. A fantastic professional who works really hard, totally behind the ethos.

“We’re very pleased about that.”

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