By Noel Whelan

2nd Jun, 2020 | 4:16pm

Exclusive: Whelan baffled as Leeds race to sign soon-available free agent

Noel Whelan is baffled as to why Leeds United are reportedly chasing Danny Loader this summer and urged the club to look at proven Premier League strikers.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, the former Elland Road forward encouraged the Whites to promote their own youth rather than sign the 20-year-old Reading striker.

The Daily Mail report that Leeds are in a race with Swansea and Crystal Palace for the England Under-20 international who will become a free agent on 1 July.

Loader was offered a new deal at the Madejski Stadium but it was later withdrew by the Championship side due to the financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic.

Whelan suggested the young striker was incapable of challenging for a first-team spot at Elland Road.

“I do not think we need to be looking at young strikers if we are moving into the Premier League, that is for sure,” he told Football Insider.

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“We need to look at strikers that are going to score the goals to keep up us in the Premier League. He has not scored many in the Championship or had many runout for Reading.

“One for the future perhaps but it puts a dent in the hopes of the lads that are already at Leeds.

“If he is better than what we have got, fine. But why have they got better than what we have got? I am sure there are strikers at Leeds in that same category.

“The youth policy to me is important but we need proven Premier League goalscorers if we get there.”

Loader has just one senior goal to his name for The Royals in 2019/20 – a strike in the FA Cup Third Round against Blackpool.

However, the striker has scored four in as many games for their Under-23 side this season.

In other Leeds United news, it can be REVEALED that club have set their sights on Argentina international who has £12million release clause.