Lewis Baker has come clean on why he had to leave Leeds and move to Championship rivals Reading.
The former England U21 midfielder joined the Whites on a season-long loan deal over the summer, but a clause in the contract allowed both parent club Chelsea and the player to revoke the arrangement in January if neither were happy.
And while Baker featured in every one of Leeds’ 26 matchday squads in the Championship so far this season, he did only start twice – and in both those games he was withdrawn at half-time.
After confirming his loan to Reading, Baker told the Royals’ official website: “It’s the right time for me to come here, to get as much game time as possible.
“I think that’s what I need at the moment.
“If anyone knows me personally and knows how much I love football they know I just want to play.”
Chelsea invoked a similar clause in cutting short Kasey Palmer’s time at Blackburn and sending the player to Bristol City, while they seemingly tried to do similar with Aston Villa loanee Tammy Abraham and in trying to move the striker on to Wolves.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday ahead of Friday’s Championship match against Derby, Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa said: “It was something in the contract. Obviously Chelsea and Baker chose to use this article to go back.”
Asked if he will miss the player, Bielsa continued: “He was always inside the group, even if he didn’t play a lot. Maybe he felt that we didn’t value him at the right level. The only time I talked to him about it, not only did I tell him I wanted him to stay for the next six months but even next year.”
However, a sympathetic Bielsa continued: “He had legitimate expectancy to play more and the last game he played in the FA Cup, for me he had a positive performance. It was a starting point for his development inside the team. But I can understand that he took a different decision.”
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