EXCLUSIVE

Noel Whelan has expressed his disappointment that Leeds United did not beat Huddersfield Town to the signing of defender Tommy Elphick.

The centre-back, 31, was announced as the Terriers’ first summer signing on Saturday after being recruited on a two-year deal following his release from Aston Villa last week.

Huddersfield have signed Elphick on a free transfer and ex-Leeds striker Whelan believes the defender’s pedigree and experience in the Championship are precisely the qualities Marcelo Bielsa’s side need.

“Leeds have missed out on a great signing, there,” Whelan told Football Insider. “We looked at him before and we should have tried for him again. Why aren’t we looking for this player?

“As soon as he became available I thought, ‘let’s go for him, he’d been perfect for Leeds’. He’s physical, commanding, good in the air, dominates centre-forwards and has excellent experience.

“He might have been in and out of the Villa side, but he was training with top quality players every day and that always keeps your level high. He would have been a great acquisition for Leeds.”

Leeds are in the market for a senior centre-back this summer and have made overtures in Brighton about signing 21-year-old Ben White on a season-long loan.

Huddersfield have moved quickly to strengthen their defence and are getting a player who is proven in England’s second tier.

Elphick joined Villa for £4million in 2016 after extensive spells at Bournemouth and Brighton.

He spent the first half of last season on loan at Hull City but was recalled by Villa at the midway point due to injuries at the back and made 10 consecutive starts between January and March before a fractured ankle ended his campaign.

In other Leeds United news, it can be REVEALED that Wolves have asked for another key Whites player in part-exchange for Helder Costa.