Leeds United move to bring club-trained veteran back to Elland Road

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Leeds United are set to bring Alex Cairns back to Elland Road to replace third-choice goalkeeper Kristoffer Klaesson.

Klaesson made his exit on Sunday, joining Polish side Raków Częstochowa in a permanent deal. The Norway Under 21 international spent three years with Leeds but made just three senior appearances in that time, struggling to make a fight of it with number one Illan Meslier and falling behind back-ups Joel Robles and Karl Darlow. There were times last season when Dani van den Heuvel, who has now also left the club, was with the matchday squad in Klaesson’s stead.

Leeds are moving quickly to fill the void and bolster Daniel Farke’s goalkeeping options, however. In Cairns they feel they can bring in experience and, crucially, another homegrown, club-trained player. The 31-year-old will come back to the club where it all began for a nominal fee, leaving current employer Salford City.

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Cairns began his career in the Leeds United academy at Thorp Arch and turned professional in 2011. He spent time on loan with Barrow and Stalybridge Celtic before being released at the end of his contract in 2015. Since then he has had spells with Chesterfield, Rotherham United, Fleetwood, for whom he played 240 times, and Salford City. Last season Cairns was heroic as Salford beat Leeds United in the Carabao Cup on penalties, making a number of big saves in regulation time and saving from Georginio Rutter in the spot-kicks.

Leeds believe his experience will be valuable in what is a young squad and he will act as a third-choice behind Illan Meslier and Darlow. Although there have been reports in France of transfer interest in Meslier from Ligue 1 side Marseille, the YEP understands Leeds are yet to be made aware of it and have received no bids.

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