COMMENT By Richard Parks
Leeds must hijack Celtic’s attempt to sign Barnsley defender Andy Yiadom this summer.
Football Insider revealed last week that the Scottish champions are to launch a bid to sign the Barnsley defender after he rejected the offer a new contract at the Championship club.
Leeds must blow the Scottish champions out of the water and beat them to the signature of Yiadom, 26, as they look to completely overhaul a squad that has slumped to 14th in the table following a second-half-of-the-season collapse.
Yiadom, 26, is a right-back, which has been a problem position for Leeds this season despite a wealth of Championship experience in that position, through Luka Ayling, Gaetano Berardi and Vurnon Anita.
First choice Ayling had a wretched campaign before an ankle injury in January ruled him out for the rest of the season, while Berardi’s limitations are not masked by his commitment and never-say-die spirit.
Leeds’ squad needs a shake-up, and they should look to get one over Celtic by landing the one-time Ghana international on a free transfer.
Yiadom has done it the hard way, learning his trade with Barnet and Braintree at non-league and League Two level before nailing down a regular spot in England’s second tier with Barnsley over the last two seasons.
He has come on leaps and bounds in recent years to become one of the highest-rated right-backs outside of the Premier League with some commanding displays at Oakwell.
As revealed by Football Insider, Yiadom’s pedigree is such that he was set to join Swansea City last summer only for the deal to collapse at the last minute because the paperwork was not completed in time.
He got over the disappointment of the failed transfer to the big time by getting his head down at Barnsley, and there is widespread interest in his services ahead of the summer.
Yiadom has turned down the offer of a new contract and his imminent free-agent status is highly attractive.
Leeds transfer negotiator Victor Orta will need to be persuasive, as his club cannot offer European football like Celtic will be able to, but manager Paul Heckingbottom knows his game inside out and can install him as a first-team regular
Signing a defender who can hit the ground running in the Championship would be a smart move, as Heckingbottom will now be painfully aware that the current United squad are not good enough to challenge for promotion.
In other Leeds United news, it can be revealed that NINE senior players at the club are in Radrizzani’s firing line and fighting for their jobs.