By Wayne Veysey

21st Dec, 2017 | 1:18pm

Exclusive: Leeds open talks with Everton about signing 23-year-old

EXCLUSIVE By Pete O’Rourke

Leeds United have opened talks with Everton over a permanent deal for loan star Matthew Pennington in the January window, Football Insider sources understand.

Pennington joined Leeds on a season-long loan deal in the summer and the versatile defender has impressed at Elland Road.

The 23-year-old has made nine appearances in the Championship so far for Leeds and a well-placed source has told Football Insider that Whites boss Thomas Christiansen would like to make his loan stay a permanent arrangement.

Pennington, who can play at right-back as well as centre-back, came through the youth system at Everton and has made nine first-team appearances for the Toffees.

However, the emergence of Jonjoe Kenny and Mason Holgate in the Everton side this season appears to have pushed Pennington further down the pecking order at Goodison Park.

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The former England Under-19 international is entering the final six months of his contract at Everton and the club could be willing to cash-in on him in January rather than risk allowing him to see out his contract.

Leeds are keen to secure a deal for Pennington and hope to finalise a permanent deal for the defender when the transfer window reopens next month.

In other Leeds United transfer news, Football Insider can reveal that Victor Orta has made contact over the January signing of an Eredivisie attacker.

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