By Wayne Veysey

10th Dec, 2020 | 4:00pm

Exclusive: Barnsley line up move to sign Bielsa discard in January

Barnsley are lining up a January move for Forest Green defender Liam Kitching, a product of the Leeds United academy.

A recruitment source has told Football Insider that the Yorkshire club are keeping close tabs on the 21-year-old centre-back.

Barnsley are in the market for a young central defender who can strengthen their squad in the new year.

Kitching has been closely watched by their talent spotters after making a strong impression in League Two since joining Forest Green from Leeds in the summer of 2019.

The youngster, who can play at left-back as well as centre-back, has started 15 of the fourth-tier club’s 16 league matches this season.

He has been an instrumental figure in Forest Green climbing to third in the division to challenge for promotion to League One.

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Kitching has made 53 appearances in total for the Gloucestershire outfit during his season-and-a-half at the club.

He did not play for the Leeds first team while at the club and Marcelo Bielsa gave the green light for him to leave in January of last year.

However, he had a highly successful loan move at non-league Harrogate Town before joining Forest Green.

Barnsley have signed two former Leeds United players in recent times, Aapo Halme and Mallik Wilks.

Halme, 22, was a key player last season but has started just one league match for Barnsley this term.

Wilks, 21, failed to establish himself at Oakwell last season and quit for Hull City in the summer and has scored eight goals in 17 matches for the League One side this term.

In other news, Leeds United are “weeks” from sealing £5m+ deal after established star declares his “love” for the club.