Lewis Baker has quit Leeds United after Chelsea moved to cut short the midfielder’s loan at Elland Road.
Leeds were notified of Baker’s recall this morning following speculation overnight that Chelsea planned to end Baker’s unsuccessful loan under Marcelo Bielsa.
Baker started only two league games for Leeds, matches in which he was substituted at half-time, and played just 14 times in the first half of the season, predominantly as a substitute.
An appearance-related clause in his season-long loan from Chelsea gave the Premier League club the right to recall him in January if Baker failed to play regularly enough and the 23-year-old has now joined Reading for the rest of the term, the sixth loan of his career.
Baker had hoped to find some impetus at Elland Road after failing to feature prominently during a year-long loan at Middlesbrough last season but limited chances and a series of poor performance left him on the periphery under Bielsa.
The midfielder was likely to have been named on the bench for Leeds’ Championship game at home to Derby County on Friday night but he is back at Stamford Bridge and preparing for a move elsewhere.
Baker’s only starts in the Championship came in 1-0 wins over Reading and Bolton. He was replaced by Bielsa after 45 minutes of each game.
His exit is unlikely to significantly damage Bielsa’s plans but it will heighten the need for new arrivals in the January transfer window.
Leeds set a new goalkeeper as a top priority this month but could also bring a winger and number 10 to the club to strengthen Bielsa’s Championship-topping squad for the run-in.