Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

According to The Daily Mail, Leeds United have opened talks regarding signing Celtic defender Leo Hjelde, who has been compared to Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk.

Hjelde was in the Celtic squad for the pre-season friendly against West Ham United yesterday.

However, Leeds and the Hoops are in talks over a transfer of the 18-year-old Norwegian.

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The next Virgil van Dijk?

Hjelde is only 18 and has yet to establish himself in the Celtic first team.

However, the Norwegian teenager is very promising and is rated very highly.

The Norway Under-18 international had a loan spell at Ross County in the second half of last season and was very impressive.

Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

John Hughes was then the manager of County, and he believes that Hjelde could be as good as Liverpool central defender Virgil van Dijk in the coming years.

BBC Sport quoted Hughes as saying about Hjelde in April 2021: “Leo is going to be the next Van Dijk – trust me on that.

“The quality he has shown, the physical challenge, playing real men’s football and standing up to it – it’s been a wonderful experience for Leo.

“Before he came, Leeds United were after him. I think he had to sign an extension to his contract for the loan to go through.”

Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images

One for the future

Now, of course, playing in the Scottish Premiership is very different to turning out week in and week out in the Premier League.

However, the likes of John McGinn and Van Dijk have shown that players coming from the Scottish league can star in the top flight of English football.

One thing to remember about Hjelde is that he is only 18 and must be treated as a prospect.

The teenager should be given time to progress and develop.

In other news, Some Manchester City fans have plenty to say about 52nd-minute Liverpool incident last night