Leeds are interested in signing Hearts 17-year-old, Aaron Hickey, a report from a print edition of The Scottish Sun (20/10, p65) has claimed.
Leeds currently sit second in the Championship and have their sights firmly set on staying in the automatic promotion places for the rest of the season and going on further than they did last season.
It has been no secret that Leeds are lacking depth in their squad this season, no more so than in defence, with options depleting further following the six-week groin injury to club captain Liam Cooper.
Leeds have already appeared to begin keeping tabs on young West Brom defender, Nathan Ferguson, who has impressed massively this season and is out of contract in the summer.
With Leeds seemingly in the market for a young full-back, we take a look at three reasons why Leeds must seal a deal for young Hearts defender, Aaron Hickey.
Leeds’ depth is an issue
As mentioned previously, Leeds have gone into this season and the last with dangerously thin squads. Marcelo Bielsa has always been keen to operate in management with a smaller squad, relying on his players’ versatility by being able to use different players for different positions.
This season, Leeds have used four different full-backs (Dallas, Ayling, Alioski, and Douglas), and while this may indicate decent squad depth, it should be noted that Alioski and Dallas have been converted from wingers.
Adding a first-team quality full-back who can also operate as a wing-back would be very welcome for Bielsa to give Leeds strong cover for a very important position in his system.
He will only get better
As is the case with all signings of young players, this transfer represents an investment for the future as well as a player who is potentially ready for first-team action now.
Should Leeds move to sign Hickey, he will come in very inexperienced and raw, yet still showing his immense abilities already.
Under a great coach and given appropriate game time, Hickey will continue to grow as a player and therefore his market value will rise as a result.
The current fee being touted for the youngster is around £1.5million, as per the Daily Record, and with a move to the Championship seemingly on the cards at his age, there is no doubt that the fee isn’t much of a gamble, but a solid low-risk investment.
It’s a crucial position for Marcelo Bielsa’s side
Despite the alarming lack of depth in the full-back slots for Leeds United, Bielsa values those positions very highly when it comes to performance at both ends of the pitch for the Whites.
Bielsa’s sides tend to play very high up the pitch, dominating possession, which means it should come as no surprise to see his full-backs playing much higher than your average one.
This season alone, the full-backs Bielsa has selected have scored three goals between them and registered three assists. Last season, the full-backs contributed a staggering 13 goals and 17 assists across the season.
Hickey has already shown his attacking prowess this season, scoring a dramatic winner for Hearts in the Edinburgh derby. He definitely has what it takes to operate in a fast-paced attack-oriented Leeds side.