Noel Whelan has suggested Marcelo Bielsa was at Liverpool’s pre-season friendly on Sunday to hold face-to-face talks with Jurgen Klopp about Leeds United signing Ryan Kent.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-United striker insisted the Argentine was at Valley Parade for Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Bradford City on a transfer mission.

Leeds have been linked with a summer loan swoop for winger Kent, amid competing interest from Rangers and their manager Steven Gerrard.

The Liverpool icon has made no attempt to hide his desire to re-sign the 22-year-old for a second consecutive campaign, but Bielsa’s presence at Valley Parade, rather than in Australia for Leeds’ pre-season tour, hinted at competition for to land him before the transfer cut-off.

“Bielsa was probably at Bradford looking at Ryan Kent,” Whelan told Football Insider. “There’s no reason for him to go there rather than Australia unless it was beneficial for him.

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“Ryan Kent has been spoken about before. I think Bielsa has met with Jurgen Klopp after the game. If there is interest and conversations going on it, it is worth talking with his manager.

“There’s no harm in building up a rapport with Klopp. 

“I would love to have Kent at Leeds next season. He is a fantastic young player who did really well at Rangers last season. Stevie G would love to keep him but if we can can get him, he would be a brilliant signing.

“He can play wide, number 10, has pace, strength, can run at defenders, and score and create goals. He’s a really exciting young prospect.”

Kent’s future is on hold as he is set to travel with the Liverpool senior squad this week on their pre-season tour of the USA with the likes of star trio Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino unavailable.

In other Leeds United news, it can be REVEALED that the club have set their sights on three new signings.