Premier League trio linked with Leeds United – are they worth a punt?

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Compared with previous transfer windows, it has been a very busy summer so far for the Whites as the club have continued to be linked with a vast array of talent across Europe.

Andrea Radrizzani will take full credit for that, and deservedly so as his positive approach to running the club has produced a newfound sense of optimism amongst fans which hasn’t existed for many years, due to the farcical management of the Whites by previous owners.

Victor Orta was brought in by Radrizzani as the club’s new director of football, but prior to that the Spaniard was the head of recruitment at Middlesbrough and his experience and excellence in this role has paid dividends for the Whites, after convincing Mateusz Klich, Felix Wiedwald, Vurnon Anita and now Samuel Saiz to join the club.

However, all of United’s signings have come from abroad – with a lack of domestic blood brought in thus far.

But recently, Leeds have been rumoured to be looking into some English players which would considerably improve their defensive shortage.

Kyle Bartley’s potential return to West Yorkshire is looking increasingly unlikely after Swansea boss Paul Clement proclaimed that Bartley was part of his plans for pre-season.

This leaves the Whites with only two recognisable first team centre-backs in Pontus Jansson and Liam Cooper. Although Giuseppe Bellusci is another option after returning from a one-year loan at Empoli, the defender is currently public enemy number one amongst the Whites faithful, who are keen to see the controversial defender axed from the club.

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Another spot which needs addressing is the left-back role which was previously occupied by Charlie Taylor before his move to Burnley last week.

Everton centre-back Mathew Pennington, Manchester United left-back Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Liverpool midfielder Ryan Kent have all been linked with Leeds – but would they be useful additions?

 

Mathew Pennington:

At only 22 years of age, Pennington still has his best years ahead of him, with the centre-half’s future in Merseyside looking increasingly bleak due to his lack of involvement in the first team.

Despite only seven Premier League appearances, Pennington has been blooded in the Premier League in the past two seasons (which is something not too many youngsters can say) and this will have been a good learning curve going up against some of the world’s best players.

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The young defender certainly proved he has potential last season with Ronald Koeman including him in the squad ahead of fellow academy youngster Tyias Browning, who was sent out on loan in the second half of the season.

However, after three loan spells in League One, Pennington will be hoping a club can offer him regular first team opportunities and with Leeds defence lacking in depth, it would be good back up should Jansson or Cooper get injured.

 

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson:

The left-back has been heavily linked with Leeds over the past few days, with the Whites keen to find a full-back to replace Charlie Taylor.

Borthwick-Jackson may be a suitable replacement having featured ten times for Manchester United’s first team and was favoured by former United boss Louis Van Gaal during his time at the club, who was the first manager at United to include him in the first team.

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After his call up to the first team, the 20-year-old had achieved honours with the Red Devils, being awarded the under-21’s player of the season in 2016.

This award would’ve certainly been a factor behind Wolves’ move for the defender last season but despite his hope of getting game time at Molineux, Borthwick-Jackson was left out of the Wanderers squad after making an initial six appearances for the club.

A loan move seems the most likely outcome from Leeds’ reported interest – the only factor that the Elland Road faithful wouldn’t like in the defender is simple; he grew up playing for Manchester United.

 

Ryan Kent:

Although Leeds already have several wingers in Hadi Sacko, Stuart Dallas, Kemar Roofe and Souleymane Doukara, they have been touted with a loan move for Liverpool winger Ryan Kent.

Despite the Whites midfield looking the least worrying aspect of the squad, Kent is a player that could be added to the ranks in the coming weeks.

The 20-year-old would be no stranger to the Championship, having featured forty-two times for Yorkshire rivals Barnsley last season, showing glimpses of the blistering speed and skill the tricky attacker possesses. He certainly performed against the Whites last season when he scored in the 3-2 victory for the Tykes.

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Although this seems the most unlikely transfer of the three, with United favouring a move for Lugano winger Ezgjan Alioksi, who they’ve been in pursuit of since the start of the summer.

But should the Whites move for the Macedonian fall through, Kent would be a very useful option as a substitute with his pace and trickery being something that could stretch defences and give United another way of playing.