Leeds United still hoping to land versatile Spanish ace Samuel Saiz

Thomas Christiansen
Thomas Christiansen
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LEEDS UNITED returned to pre-season training with fans facing a waiting game to see if Samuel Saiz would become the club’s second new signing of the summer.

But left-back Charlie Taylor’s departure from Leeds is imminent with the defender likely to join Premier League Burnley when his Whites contract expires on July 1.

On the day the club announced that Leeds Ladies would rejoin the club as Leeds United Ladies, blue skies greeted the squad on their return to Thorp Arch for new head coach Thomas Christiansen’s first training session.

Leeds are still without Chris Wood who has been on international duty with New Zealand in the Confederations Cup in Russia, while Pontus Jansson and Eunan O’Kane are taking additional time off after their respective weddings.

But Polish international midfielder Mateusz Klich joined his new team- mates following his Friday move from FC Twente and Spanish attacking midfielder Saiz could become United’s second new signing under Dane Christiansen and new owner Andrea Radrizzani.

The Huesca no 10 is known to have been in talks with Leeds, with the 26-year-old thought to be keen on the move to Yorkshire despite interest from La Liga clubs in Spain.

United players led by Kemar roofe, centre, training at Thorp Arch.

United players led by Kemar roofe, centre, training at Thorp Arch.

Eibar, Real Betis, Las Palmas and Alaves are also interested in signing the former Spain under-19 international whose deal at Huesca runs until June 2018.

Saiz’s career began as a trainee with Real Madrid and he was on the books of Atletico Madrid for 12 months before joining Huesca in 2015, initially on loan.

The no 10 spent a short time on loan at Sevilla while new Leeds director of football Victor Orta was part of Sevilla’s recruitment team.

Saiz, who can also play as a forward, produced 12 goals and eight assists as Huesca finished sixth in the Segunda division last season.

Leeds are still without Chris Wood who has been on international duty with New Zealand in the Confederations Cup in Russia, while Pontus Jansson and Eunan O’Kane are taking additional time off after their respective weddings.

The club were beaten by Getafe in the promotion play-offs.

Speaking on Friday, Saiz’s representative, Juan Moreno said: “Samuel has a firm (interest) from Leeds United and also other Premier League clubs in Spain.”

Leeds will begin their new Championship season with a trip to Bolton Wanderers on Sunday, August 6.

The club were due to take in their first pre-season friendly at Harrogate Town on Wednesday, July 5 but the game will now take place behind closed doors at Thorp Arch following discussions with United’s medical team regarding Town’s 36 pitch.

Luke Ayling is all smiles on his first day back.

Luke Ayling is all smiles on his first day back.

The decision means that United’s first open pre-season friendly will be away at Guiseley on Saturday, July 8.

United are likely to have parted company by wantaway left back Taylor by then and reports in Lancashire yesterday suggested the defender would join Burnley when his Leeds contract expires on July 1.

The Clarets are said to have already agreed personal terms with Taylor but still need to agree a fee with Leeds, or have the case go to a tribunal.

Leeds have also announced that Leeds Ladies will become Leeds United Ladies and rejoin the club next term.

The side have been known as Leeds Ladies since being abandoned by former chairman Massimo Cellino who sold his remaining 50 per cent share of the club to new chairman Andrea Radrizzani last month.

But now United and the city’s women’s football team will be back at one with Leeds United Ladies set to play two games at Elland Road each season in addition to the remainder of their home matches at Wheatley Park Stadium, Garforth.

Leeds United Ladies - who play in the Women’s Premier League Northern Division One - will also train at Thorp Arch and wear the same kit as the men’s first team.

Radrizzani took to social media to say he was “very pleased to welcome back Leeds United Ladies in our family.”

Leeds United managing director Angus Kinnear said: “We are pleased to welcome Leeds United Ladies back into our family, the women’s game is growing in popularity and rightly so, there are some very talented female players in this region and across the country.

“It is important that the club is represented in the leagues and we hope this move will encourage more young girls to get involved in football.”

Lee Townend, chairman of Leeds United Ladies, commented: “I am so proud to be part of the re-integration of Leeds Ladies into Leeds United.

“A unified Leeds Ladies team means that not only does the city have a women’s team who will represent them and wear the badge with pride but a team which girls and the young female football players of Leeds can look up to and emulate.

“I am looking forward to working closely with Angus and the team of directors over the coming seasons to realise the vision of Leeds United Ladies FC. We thank our committee along with Andrea and the team at LUFC for working hard to make this happen.”

New deal: Leeds United's Conor Shaughnessy. 
Picture: Tony Johnson

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