The difference in outlooks between Leeds and Chelsea was cited after a teen sensation was tipped to have a first-team impact this season.
While the likes of Daniel James and Junior Firpo made the headlines, Leeds set about securing their future with a series of under-the-radar signings this summer. A quartet of teenagers were all brought to Elland Road on permanent deals.
Perhaps the most eye-catching of the four was Chelsea’s Lewis Bate. The midfielder, 18, had become a target for several Premier League clubs including Leeds and West Ham.
The Whites ultimately secured his signature, with pundit Noel Whelan offering the inside track on how they were able to fend off rival interest.
Bate has slotted straight in to the club’s Under-23s and is already a regular in the Premier League 2.
However, Leeds chief Angus Kinnear recently revealed Bate – along with a number of other outstanding young talents – is likely to be given first-team opportunities this season.
“We are confident that players of the potential of Crysencio Summerville, Sam Greenwood, Cody Drameh, Joe Gelhardt and Lewis Bate will have a first-team impact across the coming season and will be at the heart of the club’s medium-term success,” said Kinnear via Leeds Live.
Whether Bate would’ve been fast-tracked into the first-team at Chelsea, no one can say for sure. But the examples of Conor Gallagher and Billy Gilmour would suggest that scenario would have been unlikely.
The pair have both been loaned out this season with the likes of N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho and now Saul Niguez blocking their pathway into the first-team.
Instead, Bate will continue to work with Leeds Under-23s coach Mark Jackson who will shape the youngster’s game to fit Marcelo Bielsa’s demands.
“They’re in that stage of their careers where everything won’t be perfect, but he’s settled in well,” Jackson recently said of Bate’s early progress via Leeds Live.
“He’s played the three games now and he’s had a feel for it. He has getting a feel for the way we train, how we train and the expectations of him as a midfielder, I’m sure, are different to what he had at Chelsea.
“He’s slowly getting to grips with it. He’s been really, really positive and it’s good to see he’s fitted in with the group really well.
“We have a good bunch here who can fit in. Everyone welcomes them and helps them. He’s getting the support from the staff, but we’re pleased with how he’s progressing.”
Leeds stood firm after rejecting six offers
Meanwhile, Leeds United rejected multiple offers from Championship clubs for Sam Greenwood before the transfer window closed, claims a report.
As many as six clubs formulated offers for the 19-year-old forward; Leeds though stood firm. Swansea City and Bournemouth were among the clubs trying to land Greenwood, according to Football Insider.
Greenwood, who top scored for Leeds’ Under-23s last season made the bench for the opening-day defeat at Manchester United.
Leeds’ desire to keep the talented centre-forward was also matched by the player himself. The source claims Greenwood, who was promoted to the first-team squad last season, also wanted to stay and develop at Elland Road.
Greenwood arrived from Arsenal in the summer of 2020 for an initial fee of £1.5m. However, that fee could double if all the add-ons are met.