By Craig Scott

11th Aug, 2021 | 5:40pm

Leeds United make breakthrough in talks to sign Celtic defender Leo Hjelde

Leeds United have made a breakthrough in their talks to sign Celtic defender Leo Hjelde, according to Yorkshire Evening Post journalist Graham Smyth.

Writing on the YEP website on Wednesday, Smyth reported that Leeds and Celtic’s talks had been at a standstill for a couple of weeks.

However, it is understood that progress has finally been made towards the Whites signing the 17-year-old Norway youth international, who can play as a centre-back or left-back and impressed on loan at Ross County in the second half of last season.

Junior Firpo’s back-up?

Leeds have very limited options at left-back so it would not be a shock to see Leeds signing Hjelde to serve as a back-up option for summer signing Junior Firpo.

Ezgjan Alioski and Leif Davis have both left, leaving Stuart Dallas as the second-choice left-back behind Firpo.

However, Dallas is better off being used in the midfield and Bielsa must surely know that.

Hjedle did well on loan at Ross County last season when he made 11 Scottish Premiership appearances for them.

He scored one goal, which came in a win against Kilmarnock, and made the majority of his appearances either at left-back or on the left-wing [transfermarkt].

John Hughes, who managed Hjelde at Ross County, dubbed the Norway Under-18 international as “absolutely fantastic” [BBC Sport] during his loan spell there.

We’re pretty excited about this one because while Hjelde is young, he’s shown he can perform in top-flight football in the UK.

Yes, it was in Scotland. But he’s been hailed as being the next Virgil van Dijk [YEP] and he did alright after quitting Celtic to move to the Premier League.

In other Leeds United news, there are two major injury doubts for the Whites this weekend when they play Manchester United.