By Noel Whelan

27th Dec, 2020 | 9:00am

'Could Take Leeds To New Level' - Exclusive: Whelan reacts to intriguing Hay transfer reveal

Noel Whelan has insisted Leeds United could reach “another level” if they sign cover for Patrick Bamford and another central midfielder next month.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Whites striker and boyhood Elland Road fan delivered his verdict after the club’s January transfer plans were revealed.

The Athletic’s Phil Hay intriguingly claimed on the Phil Hay show this week the Yorkshire giants may sign a player in January if a top star becomes available in the same way Raphinha did over the summer.

The Brazilian moved to the club for a £17million fee on deadline day in October when he was suddenly made available by Rennes.

Asked by Football Insider which positions he would like Leeds to strengthen in, Whelan said: “Bielsa said he wasn’t going to get another centre-half and nine times out of ten, when he says something he sticks with it.

“He feels now that with Diego Llorente getting back to fitness, Liam Cooper won’t be far off, Luke Ayling has done pretty well covering in that centre-half that can fill in there.

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“You’ve got Pascal Struijk who can fill in there and you’ve got Charlie Cresswell who looks like he’s adapting really well and could become a really good centre-half for Leeds United.

“So there are options there. It’s not like we haven’t got players that can fill in.

“If the money is available it’s best served on a centre-forward to help ease the load on Patrick Bamford up there and on a centre-midfield player. I think they’re two positions that are critical and could take Leeds to another level.”

In other news, a top pundit has claimed Leeds United may sign a French assist machine on a buy-to-loan January deal.