Leeds United should allow Conor Shaughnessy to go out on loan
As per a report from Edinburgh Live, Leeds United defender Conor Shaughnessy could be set to leave the club in the January transfer window as he inches closer to securing a loan move to Scottish Premiership outfit Hearts for the rest of the season.
A former Reading youth team product, Shaughnessy joined the Leeds youth setup in the summer of 2016 on a free transfer and was drafted into the first team in the 2017-18 campaign by then manager Thomas Christiansen.
The 22-year-old defensive midfielder, who can play as a centre-back as well, made his senior debut for the Whites in a 3-2 win over Bolton Wanderers in August 2017. He went on to make 14 appearances in total that term, making a fairly solid impression in his debut campaign. However, an ankle injury brought an early end to his campaign in January 2018.
Prior to the injury, Leeds had handed the Irishman a new four-year contract, while he had also managed to break into the Republic of Ireland U21 side as well.
With Leeds not recruiting any new central defenders in the summer transfer window, Shaughnessy would have been hopeful of getting regular playing time over the course of the season under new manager Marcelo Bielsa.
However, that did not turn out to be the case as the 22-year-old has made just one appearance this term, which came in a League Cup tie against Preston North End. Even then, he was hauled off at half-time. In fact, the 22-year-old has made the matchday squad for a Championship game on just two occasions so far in the ongoing season.
Injuries at the heart of the defence have hampered Bielsa’s Leeds throughout this term but the former Athletic Bilbao boss has overlooked Shaughnessy and has instead opted to use midfielder Kalvin Phillips in defence on several occasions. He also brought in youngsters Aapo Halme and Leif Davis from the reserves’ side to offer cover in the position.
It is clear that Shaughnessy isn’t a player that Bielsa favours and isn’t likely to include the 22-year-old in his plans moving forward. The Irishman is at a stage in his career where he needs to be playing regular first-team football to continue his progression towards fulfilling the potential he had shown initially.
Hearts are in need of cover at centre-back following an injury to on-loan Burnley defender Jimmy Dunne. The Jambos’ manager Craig Levein has the ability to nurture young and upcoming talents with potential as has been the case with John Souttar in the past couple of seasons along with Dunne and Demetri Mitchell (both on loan) this term.
With prospects of regular first-team football looking bleak at Elland Road, both Shaughnessy and Leeds stand to benefit from the 22-year-old’s loan spell away at Hearts till the end of the campaign. The right move for all parties involved.