Victor Orta poised to act but Leeds United's January transfer activity more likely to involve loan deals for youngsters

Leeds United are expecting a quiet January but there could be a flurry of outgoing movement in the loan market.

By Graham Smyth
Wednesday, 6th January 2021, 11:24 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th January 2021, 11:28 am
LOAN AGAIN - Ryan Edmondson is due to return from Aberdeen, although the Scottish Premiership side may seek to extend the loan deal for the Leeds United striker. Pic: Getty

Marcelo Bielsa did not rule out signings during the window, admitting opportunities may arise for director of football Victor Orta to act, but the Whites head coach is believed to be content with the first-team squad as it is.

Orta has a number of targets lined up in case circumstances dictate and Leeds need to dip into the market. Yet signings for the positions they are most likely to strengthen are not anticipated until the summer.

January transfer activity, in the form of loan deals, is instead far more likely for some of the club’s youngsters.

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Although summer talk about a move for Tyler Roberts was largely baseless, it’s possible he could earn more regular first-team football on loan elsewhere for the second half of the season if he so wished. Bielsa still considers him part of his squad plans, however.

Ryan Edmondson’s loan spell at Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen is coming to an end and although there is a possibility the Dons will seek to extend it to the end of the current season.

The game time the young striker has received while north of the border might be a stumbling block, however. Edmondson has started three times in the league, the last of which came back in November in a 4-0 Ibrox defeat by Rangers. Since then, Leeds’ 19-year-old forward has played just 51 minutes of Scottish Premiership football as a substitute.

The YEP understands there are other clubs keen to loan the former England Under-19 international, whose contract at Elland Road is up this summer.

And there is also interest in Jordan Stevens, who is currently still on loan with League One strugglers Swindon Town.

The winger has started two of the Robins’ 11 games under John Sheridan’s management and there are League Two clubs monitoring the situation in case Leeds elect to recall Stevens.

Salford City, who appointed former Swindon Town boss Richie Wellens in November, are thought to be among the clubs keeping tabs on the 20-year-old.

Others set their sights on a loan approach for striker Sam Greenwood but the former Arsenal striker currently seems closer to a first-team breakthrough at Leeds than a spell anywhere else and it’s a similar story for fellow Under-23s summer signing Joe Gelhardt.

The pair arrived with big reputations and England youth international caps and have impressed for the 23s, building a relationship and showcasing the versatility Bielsa values.

Greenwood’s ability to play equally well with both feet and Gelhardt’s strength and balance have made them difficult to play against, the latter scoring six Premier League 2 goals in eight outings and the former adding five goals and an assist. This weekend's FA Cup tie at Crawley Town could bring some senior involvement for one or both.

Central defender Oliver Casey is another player for whom there would be takers were Leeds to decide he was available for a loan, but he’s also another Bielsa is fond of and with the current injury issues in the heart of the defence – Robin Koch, Liam Cooper and Diego Llorente are all out at present – both Casey and Charlie Cresswell have moved closer to first-team involvement.

They too have struck up a partnership for Mark Jackson’s Under-23s, winning all seven of the games they have started together.