'Something special' - Predicted key new Leeds United rivals sign experienced Premier League ace

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An experienced Premier League player has become the first signing of the summer for an expected key new Leeds United Championship rival.

Leeds United’s new Championship rivals Luton Town have landed an experienced Premier League player and promotion winner as their first signing of the summer.

Luton are back in the second tier after last season’s relegation and the Hatters are generally third favourites for the title behind clear market leaders Leeds and another recently relegated side in Burnley.

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Luton had so far been quiet on the transfers front but the Hatters have now bagged experienced 26-year-old midfielder Shandon Baptiste as their first signing of the summer following the Grenada international’s release from Brentford.

Baptiste made 55 Premier League appearances for the Bees for whom he was part of the promotion-winning squad from the Championship back in 2021. The midfielder’s first of two Premier League goals from his time at Brentford was scored against Leeds in the 2-2 draw at Elland Road of December 2021.

Born in Grenada, Baptiste joined Brentford from Oxford United in January 2020 but left the club this summer after his contract expired.

Speaking to the club's official website, Hatters boss Rob Edwards said: "We’re really excited to get Shandon in. I know I always say this about our players, but he’s a great person.

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“I’ve had a few chats with him and he was really keen on joining us, it wasn’t a hard sell for me. I think he’s seen from the outside what we’re about and wanted to join and help us.

“He’s such a talented footballer. He’s someone who can take the ball, he can drive past people. I think he’s an exciting player, and technically very good, so we’re looking forward to getting him into the group.

“He’s at a good age, he wants to get back to the Premier League and he ticks a lot of boxes. He’s got a lot of experience, but he’s got something to prove as well, so he’s hungry.

“I’m delighted. It’s a really good bit of business by the club, and that’s what we pride ourselves on, trying to be really clever in the market.

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“We bring in good people, good players and there was a lot of interest in Shandon, but he wanted to come to Luton and we’ve beaten a few clubs to him, which is very exciting.”

Baptiste said: "I feel like Luton is the right place for me. Watching the club play last season, it was clear that something big was happening here and I want to be a part of it.

“There are good players and a good manager here so I’m hopeful that we can do big things together.

“I’ve had a lot of injuries during my career, but I feel like I’ve passed that now and hopefully I can just look forward to doing great things in the Luton shirt.”

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