Sources: Leeds open talk to sign 'next Van Dijk' from Celtic after striker deal all but done
Leeds United have opened talks with Celtic about signing rising star Leo Hjelde, Football Insider understands.
The Norwegian defender, 17, was on United’s radar even before impressing while on loan to Ross County in the Scottish Premiership last season.
A Leeds source has told Football Insider the club are now negotiating a deal for Hjelde as they step up plans to recruit top-quality youngsters.
The teenage Scandinavian is out of contract at Celtic next summer and his future at the club is in major doubt.
He was wanted by Leeds in January but instead joined Ross County for the second half of last season.
United believe he can be lured south of the border with the promise of a long-term contract and the opportunity to learn his trade under Marcelo Bielsa.
Subscribe to Football Insider TV now
It comes at a time when Leeds are also finalising a deal for Birmingham City wonderkid Amari Miller.
The versatile forward is in advanced talks to join the Yorkshire giants and they have submitted an offer of £200,000 rising to £1.5million with add-ons.
Hjelde has also been targeted because of what Leeds consider to be his enormous potential.
He has blown away their talent spotters as well as former County manager John Hughes.
“He will reach the Premier League. Leo is going to be the next Virgil van Dijk, trust me on that, trust me,” Hughes told BBC Sport.
The defender has featured for Norway at youth international level, making a collective 16 appearances for the country’s Under-16s and Under-17s.
He made 12 appearances for Ross County last season, 11 of which were in the starting XI.