Leeds Utd complete signing of rising star directly compared to Liverpool ace

Leo Hjelde Celtic defender July 2021

Leeds Utd have completed a deal to sign a Norwegian centre-half who has been compared to Liverpool ace Virgil van Dijk.

The Whites have overseen a relatively quiet transfer window thus far. Jack Harrison signed on a permanent deal after several successful loan spells, while Junior Firpo was drafted in to replace Ezgjan Alioski at left-back.

Kristoffer Klaesson was signed to provide back-up to Illan Meslier between the sticks, but beyond that, the club have made do with safeguarding their future.

Promising youngsters the likes of Lewis Bate and Amari Miller were acquired. And following in that same vein, the club have now announced they have completed a deal to sign Celtic defender Leo Hjelde for an undisclosed fee.

Hjelde, 18, who will initially join up with Leeds’ Under-23s squad, has agreed a four-year contract at Elland Road and is the club’s seventh summer signing.

“Leeds Utd are pleased to announce the signing of Leo Hjelde from Scottish Premiership side Celtic for an undisclosed fee,” the Premier League club said.

“Hjelde celebrated his 18th birthday this week by signing a four-year-deal at Elland Road, running until the summer of 2025.”

Celtic's Leo Hjelde during the pre-season friendly match at Celtic Park, Glasgow

The Norway Under-18 international did not appear for Celtic’s first team, but featured 12 times for Scottish Premiership side Ross County while on loan with them during the second half of last season.

He is the son of former Nottingham Forest defender Jon Olav Hjelde and began his career at Rosenborg before joining Celtic in the summer of 2019 aged 15.

Hjelde was previously labelled the “next Virgil van Dijk” by Ross County boss John Hughes after overseeing his development during his loan stint.

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Raphinha reveals gruesome fear after injury

Meanwhile, Raphinha has reflected on the injury that kept him out for a length of time towards the end of last season, revealing he feared his leg would have to be amputated.

Speaking to the Players’ Tribune, Raphinha said: “He (Fernandinho) hit my thigh hard. I’m still used to the várzea (Brazilian street football), where you put ice on it and carry on. No blood, no foul, man! You have to break your leg to get any sympathy there!

“So I told Marcelo (Bielsa), ‘Don’t worry, in two or three days I’ll be fine.’ But when I came home and removed the bandage, my left leg was swelling. It was twice as thick as the right. My blood pressure dropped.

Raphinha and Fernandinho battle in game between Manchester City and Leeds United

“I called a doctor, who took me to the hospital. The pain was so bad that I had to be given anaesthesia. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t even get into the car.”

The 24-year-old continued: “Apparently I had something called an internal haematoma. The doctors said I needed surgery to remove all the blood. I had never had surgery before.

“They also said I would miss the rest of the season, though sometimes it felt as if I was going to lose my leg. Thank God, they never found a blood clot, as they had feared.

“I stayed there overnight on painkillers and medicines. The next morning I went home, and after three days I could put the crutches aside.

“But then the pain returned. I had to have even more blood removed from the leg. I went to the hospital four times and the doctors drained nearly 100 millilitres.”

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