By Wayne Veysey

20th Mar, 2018 | 4:04pm

Summer exit on the cards for Leeds player who only joined in January - report

By Richard Parks

Leeds United defender Aapo Halme will join another club on loan in the summer if he does not impress during pre-season training, according to a report.

Finnish publication Iltalehti claim that Leeds have a plan mapped out for centre-back Halme, who was signed from HJK Helsinki in the January window.

It is said that he will remain with the Under-23s for the rest of the season in order to acclimatise to English football and will then link up with the senior squad when they return after the summer break.

Iltalehti report that manager Paul Heckingbottom will run the rule over Halme in pre-season and decide whether it is best for him to be with the first team or to go out on loan to a club where he can expect to play regularly.

Halme, 19, has recently returned to training after more than two months out with a foot injury sustained shortly after his winter window arrival on a four-year contract.

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Football Insider verdict:

Given the difficulties of Leeds’ senior centre-backs this season, had Halme hit the ground running and not suffered an injury so soon after his arrival, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that he would already be challenging for a first-team spot. It is a shame for the 6ft 4in teenager that he has been sidelined since his arrival, as manager Paul Heckingbottom has showed that he is willing to fast-track the most promising youngsters at the club, particularly in positions where the first teamers are struggling. Bailey Peacock-Farrell and Tom Pearce have already benefitted from this, and the struggles of Liam Cooper, Matthew Pennington and company give hope to Halme and all the young centre-backs at Elland Road. Should Halme produce some sound performances for the Under-23s in the next few months, and then hold his own among the senior squad after the summer break, a first-team promotion, rather than lower league loan, could be on the cards.

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.

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