Why Leeds United must go all out to sign George Stanger in January
According to a report in the Evening Times, Leeds United are keen on the signing of Hamilton teenager George Stanger.
Hamilton are willing to loan the New Zealand under-23 international out before the transfer window closes as he is not yet in the first-team picture but they do not want to lose him on a permanent basis. George Stanger, 19, was recently called up to the New Zealand under-23 squad for an Australia challenge match.
The 19-year-old centre-back is thought to have caught the attention of a number of clubs across the country with his performances for the club’s academy side.
The Accies boss Brian Rice, however, did pick the youngster to play in a Challenge Cup fixture against BSC Glasgow. The report claims Leeds United want to take to the player on a permanent basis.
Marcelo Bielsa led The Whites to their highest-placed finish since relegation from the Premier League in 2004, but his team lost the momentum in the closing stages of the season and were overtaken by Sheffield United in the promotion race.
The same situation could arise for Leeds again in terms of a promotion push and it is important they learn lessons from last season and be better prepared to get the job over the line.
As of now, Bielsa should be satisfied with Leeds’ start to this season, with his side sitting on top of the Championship after three rounds of fixtures, ahead of Wednesday’s visit of Brentford in the league.
The Whites have quite a small squad this time around as well, with the Argentinean tactician surprisingly selling a number of young centre-backs over the summer in Aapo Halme, Hugo Diaz and Paudie O’Connor.
Liam Cooper and Ben White are the first choice centre-back pairing in Bielsa’s current team, with Gaetano Berardi the man in reserve.
There is a lack of depth as far as the defence is concerned and as the Yorkshire club cannot do any business until January, Bielsa will need to promote academy kids if there is an injury.
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Hence, it makes complete sense for Bielsa to sign George Stanger when the transfer window reopens in January. Bielsa has been a promoter of youth at Elland Road, with the likes of Jack Clarke and Jamie Shackleton now finding themselves with the senior setup.
Given that Stanger has yet to break into Hamilton’s first team, this would not be a direct move into the senior side for the teenage defender if he was to make the move to Leeds.
Having let go off some promising young defenders from the academy this summer, Stanger would be a very useful addition to the youth ranks at Thorp Arch.