Aapo Halm has left Leeds United, signing a three year deal at Barnsley for an undisclosed fee. At only 21 years old Halme fits into Barnsley’s recent strategy of signing young talent and will go someway to filling the void left by Liam Lindsay’s transfer to Stoke earlier in the week. Halm made only four league appearances for the first team last season covering for injuries but was a big part of Carlos Corberan’s U23 team who took the Professional Development League national title last season. After impressing most fans who saw him play the move may be a surprise but Leeds have deemed him surplus to requirements. The move follows on from Halm’s U23 colleague Hugo Diaz being released by the club a couple of weeks ago.
So with Diaz and Halme gone who do Leeds have as cover for Cooper and Jannson this coming season? Halme may have got the nod this year when Bielsa faced injuries to Jansson, Ayling and Berardi but his former central defensive partner in the U23s, Pascal Struijk, is just as promising. Struijk has pedigree having been signed from this seasons Champions League semi-finalists Ajax. At 6 foot 2 inches he is a towering presence who is dominant in the air but looks just as assured with the ball at his feet. The perfect defensive player for the Bielsa system don’t be surprised to see him feature for the first team this coming season.
Ben White has also signed on a season long loan from Brighton & Hove Albion. White is primarily a centre back but can also play at right back. Despite a handful of appearances for Brighton in the EFL Cup and EFL Trophy he needed a couple of loan spells to make his mark in the league. White’s first loan spell came at Newport County where he racked up 51 appearances, 42 of which came in League Two. Perhaps for Leeds United fans his most memorable game for Newport will have been in the third round of the 2017-2018 FA Cup when he featured in the 2-1 victory over Leeds. He also played in the next round as Newport held Spurs to a 1-1 draw at Rodney Parade.
For the second half of last season White went out on loan to Peterborough United. He made his debut on 5th January 2019 in a 5-0 loss away at Middlesbrough in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. His first match at the ABAX Stadium, also his first League One appearance, came on 12th January as an 88th minute substitute in a 2-1 victory over Rochdale. White totalled 15 League One appearances for Peterborough scoring one goal. Posh fans seem to rate White stating he has bags of potential, is cool and composed on the ball and likes to play it out from the back so he should fit in well.
So even with the departure of Halme and Diaz Leeds have plenty of strength in depth at centre back, provided Jannson stays at the club of course.
Aapo Halme completes move to Barnsley