Could Conor Shaughnessy receive an unlikely reprieve at Leeds United?
Coming into the summer, you would have thought that Leeds United were willing to sell Conor Shaughnessy.
The Irish defender made just one appearance for the Whites during the first half of last season – a League Cup defeat by Preston, when Marcelo Bielsa took him off at half-time.
Leeds loaned him to Scottish outfit Hearts in January and the 23-year-old wasn’t a massive hit, alternating between a first-team regular and a benchwarmer for about five months up North.
It didn’t appear as if he had much future in West Yorkshire, but fast forward a few months and he might just have a second chance.
This is because the Whites have lost no fewer than four centre-backs this summer – Paudie O’Connor, Oriol Rey, Aapo Halme and Pontus Jansson – and the reality is that Bielsa can’t lose a fifth right now.
As things stand, United have only have a few recognised and experienced central defenders in the senior squad – Liam Cooper and Ben White, who joined on loan from Brighton earlier this month. In fact, you could argue that Kalvin Phillips, a midfielder, is one of Leeds’ best centre-backs based on how well he did there at times last season, and that about sums it up.
This is a very grim situation for the team and although Shaughnessy – who has nine Championship games under his belt – isn’t a world-class option, he is an option nonetheless.
The former Reading prospect, who stands at 6’3, didn’t travel to Australia, nor was he among the squad that beat Tadcaster Albion last week, so it remains to be seen where he is or what the plan is for him.
But if Leeds are plotting to sell Shaughnessy – who posted a fine performance against Burnley in a League Cup game two years ago – then it might be a mistake, by virtue of the fact they’ve been hemorrhaging defenders all summer long.