What does Leeds United's reported move for Aapo Halme mean for Paudie O'Connor?

General view of Elland Road before the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday at Elland Road on February 25, 2017 in Leeds, England.

Leeds United are said to be closing in on the young defender.

A general view of Elland Road Stadium prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Brighton & Hove Albion at Elland Road on October 17, 2015 in Leeds, England.

According to Finnish publication MTV Sport, Leeds United have agreed a deal to sign Aapo Halme from HJK Helsinki, but what will that mean for a young centre-back already at Elland Road in the form of Paudie O'Connor?

The young Irishman signed for Leeds from Limerick back in March but, despite arriving with a fine reputation and playing in the club's early pre-season friendlies, O'Connor is yet to make his competitive debut for the first-team, having to make do with under-23 football thus far.

Thomas Christiansen manager of Leeds United looks on before the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Burnley and Leeds United at Turf Moor on September 19, 2017 in Burnley, England.

The problem is Halme already has 36 appearances for HJK under his belt and, with loanee Matthew Pennington set to return to Everton in due course, the Finnish player will surely be heading to Leeds with the intention of acting as back-up to Pontus Jansson and Liam Cooper.

With Conor Shaughnessy also an option at the back, despite his best work being done further forward, O'Connor's chance of a breakthrough in the next couple of years will take another hit if, as expected, Halme's signing is announced in the coming days.

A general view of Elland Road Stadium prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Brighton & Hove Albion at Elland Road on October 17, 2015 in Leeds, England.

At 20, the defender has time on his side, however Halme is a year younger and further along in his own development, suggesting O'Connor is going to be fifth-choice at best for the foreseeable future.

A loan spell for the latter may be the ideal option as he attempts to stake a claim further down the line, impressing Leeds boss Thomas Christiansen in the process. Yet a move for Halme suggests Leeds do not see O'Connor as a viable option at this stage.

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