Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa

Noel Whelan is adamant that Josko Gvardiol will not settle for a place on the bench at Leeds United as the Dinamo Zagreb centre-back nears a move to Elland Road.

The former Whites and Coventry striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, claimed that it is “really important” that the club get the deal for the 18-year-old over the line before the new season kicks off.

Gvardiol could become Marcelo Bielsa’s third defensive signing of the summer following the arrivals of Germany international Robin Koch and 18-year-old Cody Drameh.

Football Insider revealed earlier today that talks between the two clubs are progressing well and that all parties are confident that an £18million deal can be completed this week.

The newly-promoted side have offered the Croatia Under-21 international a long-term contract and a big pay hike to lure him to the club.

When asked by Football Insider if he expected the potential new signing to push Cooper and Koch for a starting place in Bielsa’s side this upcoming season, Whelan said:

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“We only have two centre-halves so he is going to be fighting for a spot in that first team week in, week out.

“As an £18million player you will not want to come in and sit on the bench. That is what you want from a player and that is why you have a strong squad. You want players fighting for their position and a spot in the side.

“We definitely need another centre-half, there is no doubt about that. I am glad that we are going to get this one done before the start of the season because it is really important that we get the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle put together as quickly as possible.”

In other Leeds United news, Phillips reacts as 26-year-old agrees personal terms ahead of potential blockbuster transfer.