Sunderland in talks to sign Leeds United's Niall Huggins, loan exit possible for Ian Poveda and group of others
Sunderland are among the clubs in talks with Leeds United to take versatile youngster Niall Huggins on a permanent transfer, while Ian Poveda could depart on loan before the transfer deadline.
The 20-year-old fits the bill for the Black Cats, who are in the market for a full-back, and is likely to make a departure from Elland Road before the transfer deadline this month.
Huggins has fallen down the pecking order at Leeds, having been part of the first team squad last season and made a Premier League appearance as a substitute in a defeat at Arsenal.
This summer it became clear he was no longer going to be involved in Bielsa's senior set-up and a move away, at least on loan, was inevitable. Blackburn and Blackpool have shown an interest in his services, with Sunderland the latest to express firm interest.
Huggins, who signed a contract until the end of the 2022–23 season in December last year, has represented Wales at Under 21 level on three occasions and played 17 times in Leeds' title-winning Premier League 2 Division Two season.
The Whites made a number of attempts to sign Matthew Anderson from Celtic this summer, but saw bids for the teenage left-back rejected. They are still working on a deal to take left-sided centre-half Leo Hjelde from Celtic Park.
Mark Jackson used Liam McCarron at left-back in the Under 23s season opener at Crystal Palace this week and was rewarded with a goal from the 20-year-old in a solid performance. Bielsa's first team was strengthened with the addition of Junior Firpo from Barcelona and although both Gjanni Alioski and Leif Davis have made summer exits, Stuart Dallas can provide cover at left full-back.
Dallas also forms part of Bielsa's back-up options on the other flank of his defence, along with Jamie Shackleton. Natural right-back Cody Drameh of the Under 23s is considered likely to make a breakthrough this season too.
Huggins is one of a number of Whites youngsters still to finalise their plans for the current campaign. Leeds have a small group who are training away from the Under 23s and first team as their futures are decided.
Bryce Hosannah and Robbie Gotts could both secure moves in the next fortnight. Clubs at League One level have made enquiries about Hosannah, whose loan move to Bradford City was curtailed by injury last season but is now fully fit and back training, while the likes of Motherwell, Oldham Athletic, Salford City and Stockport County have expressed interest in Gotts. Nothing is imminent for either player however. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on football finance is known to be making life difficult for many clubs hoping to bolster their squads late in the window. Doncaster Rovers, who were among Gotts' admirers, are one of a number in a situation where players have to depart before new faces can be brought in and Blackburn Rovers, who like Huggins, have been under a transfer embargo this summer. A lot of business, including that involving Leeds youngsters, could fall into place in the very final stages of the transfer window.
The YEP understands a loan move is also possible for Poveda, who made 14 Premier League appearances last season but was missing from both the squad that travelled to Old Trafford and Jackson's 23s squad in the opening week of the season. Crysencio Summerville, who scored a fine goal against Crystal Palace Under 23s, appears to have overtaken the former Manchester City winger in Bielsa's current plans.
Summerville was signed in September last year from Eredivisie outfit Feyenoord for an undisclosed fee. At 19 he already boasts senior experience thanks to a loan spell with ADO Den Haag.