Sunderland target permanent deal for versatile Leeds United youngster

Sunderland are targeting a deal for versatile Leeds United full back Niall Huggins.

Thursday, 19th August 2021, 6:00 am

The Echo understands the talks surround a permanent deal for the Wales U21 international, who is under contract until the end of next season at Elland Road.

Huggins had a superb campaign last time out, part of the Leeds side who won promotion from Premier League 2 Division 2.

That form earned him a Premier League debut in February, a late substitute as Marcelo Bielsa's side lost 4-2 at Arsenal.

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Leeds United youngster Niall Huggins

The youngster has nevertheless been made available for transfer this summer, and Sunderland are keen as they look to bolster their still threadbare full-back ranks.

Championship sides Blackpool and Blackburn Rovers are also understood to be monitoring his availability.

Huggins is an attacking left back by nature, but he is also more than adept at playing on the right flank and that versatility is key to Sunderland’s interest.

As such, his arrival would not neccesarily mean the door is closed on Denver Hume, who is yet to agree terms on a new deal as he recovers from a hamstring injury.

His future remains uncertain, with Lee Johnson admitting last week that it was now down the the left back to make a decision on the next stage of his career.

Speaking last week, Johnson said: “At the moment we are caught in the middle a little bit in terms of that next left-back, hopefully it’s Denver Hume, if it’s not Denver Hume then of course we need to go and get a position where we can be flexible with both full-backs.

“I’m always looking to reduce the quantity but increase the quality, whether that be a left-back who can play right-back.”

“It doesn't happen a lot in England but abroad often it does, I know in Italy there is a well-used tactic where they use inverted full-backs quite a lot.

“That leads to a lot more shots coming inside and having shots on your good foot.

“It’s something I haven’t used yet but I may potentially use moving forward depending on the full-backs.

“Whether we sign two left-backs will obviously depend on quality and the decision that Denver and the club make.”