Ross County have played a big part in Leo Hjelde’s development – now the Norwegian teenager has joined English Premier League club Leeds United.

The 18-year-old spent the second half of last season at the Scottish Premiership side and was compared to £75 million Dutch centre-back Virgil Van Dijk by then-manager John Hughes. Being called the ‘next Van Dijk’ was high praise and Leeds United have held an interest since 2020. Now they have their man.

Rangers v Ross County - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership

Hjelde has joined Leeds United. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

A centre-back capable of playing left-back, Hjelde has signed a four-year deal with Leeds after his Ross County loan. He was contracted to Celtic.

“A statement reads: “Leeds United are pleased to announce the signing of Leo Hjelde. Hjelde celebrated his 18th birthday this week, by signing a four-year-deal at Elland Road, running until the summer of 2025.


“The defender last season spent time on loan from Celtic at fellow Scottish Premiership side Ross County, completing a move in the January transfer window. He went on to make 12 appearances in all competitions at Victoria Park, helping the Staggies secure their top-flight status.

“Hjelde also scored one goal during his time with Ross County, which came in the 3-2 victory against Kilmarnock. At youth level, Hjelde has won international caps for Norway at Under-16, 17 and 18 level. He becomes the club’s seventh signing of the summer transfer window and will initially link up with Mark Jackson’s Under-23 side.”

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