Leeds United hand young Ronaldo Vieira a new deal

Leeds United midfielder Ronaldo Vieira, who has signed a new four year contract with the club.
Leeds United midfielder Ronaldo Vieira, who has signed a new four year contract with the club.
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Ronaldo Vieira has committed his long-term future to Leeds United by signing a new four-year contract.

In his first significant move since becoming sole owner of Leeds, Andrea Radrizzani has handed the talented midfielder an improved deal on the back of Vieira’s impressive first season as a senior player at Elland Road.

Vieira’s new contract replaces his existing three-year deal, tying him to Leeds until the summer of 2021.

The announcement comes less than 24 hours after Radrizzani completed a full takeover of United and a week after Vieira’s received his first international call-up.

The 18-year-old has been included in an England Under-20 squad selected for the Toulon Tournament in France. He is currently training at St George’s Park ahead of the start of the competition next week.

His rise at Leeds, who originally signed him to their youth-team ranks from the i2i academy, has been dramatic since he signed his first professional deal last May.

Vieira was handed an immediate debut as a substitute against Preston North End two days later and has been part of United’s first-team squad ever since.

Head coach Garry Monk used him 38 times this season and Vieira’s maiden goal came in injury-time during a 3-2 win over Norwich City at Carrow Road in November.

He received the club’s young player of the year award last month.

The extended deal agreed between Vieira and United should ward off interest in him during the forthcoming transfer window.

Liverpool are among the clubs who have watched the teenager in the months since his emergence at Elland Road and Red Bull Leipzig were strongly linked with him before the January window.

Contract talks with Vieira began shortly after the end of the Championship campaign and ahead of Radrizzani’s buy-out of Massimo Cellino but the midfielder put pen to paper at St George’s Park yesterday afternoon, a day on from the completion of the takeover.

His new contract is the third handed to him by Leeds, who rapidly replaced his initial deal with improved terms in September.

Speaking last week, Vieira expressed surprise at the speed of his progress at Elland Road, saying: “I never expected to have a season like I have. I thought I’d maybe make a few appearances and mainly play Under-23 football so it’s been great. Playing for the national team is a new experience for me but I’ve played in many tournaments which I won at a younger age so it’s something I’m used to.”

Leeds, meanwhile, have announced that more than 15,000 season tickets have already been sold for the 2017-18 campaign, an increase of around 500 on the total for 2016-17.

United hit sales of 14,500 last season after promising partial refunds to supporters if they failed to reach the play-offs.

Their slide to seventh in the final month of the campaign will see the club pay out around £1m before the end of June as eligible fans claim back 25 per cent of the money paid for season tickets.

Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy at Elland Road on Saturday. Picture by Simon Hulme

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