Leeds United added yet another promising young footballer to their ranks at Thorp Arch with the confirmation of Lewis Bate’s signing today.
Bate arrives from Chelsea for an undisclosed fee, where he had spent the entirety of his youth career, joining the West London club at the age of eight.
He has signed a three-year deal at Elland Roadwhich sees him commit his future until the summer of 2024.
The England youth international leaves Stamford Bridge without having made a senior appearance, but is highly-rated amongst those frequenting youth football in this country.
Bate is described as a combative, deep-lying midfield player with an eye for a pass, best suited to a role in front of defence, often with a partner alongside him in a pivot.
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The teenager will initially link up with Mark Jackson’s under-23s side, but there have been suggestions that going forward, Bate will be looking to earn the opportunity to be Kalvin Phillips’ understudy at Elland Road, with the pathway to first-team football much clearer than at Chelsea.
This was a key factor in Bate’s decision to reject the Blues’ proposals of improved terms, as the player did not envisage first-team opportunities becoming available in the near future.
The Champions League winners will receive an initial £1.5 million from Leeds United, however the deal also includes supplementary add-ons when Bate reaches a set number of Premier League appearances, as well as a sell-on clause.
This means Chelsea will reap further rewards for their role in developing the player if Leeds sell Bate in future.
Crucially, there have been multiple reports stating there is no buyback clause included in this deal – which gives the player a clean break.
Lewis Bate in action for Chelsea’s U23s
(Image: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Equally, it means Leeds United have a well-regarded young player tied down for three years, without the worry that Chelsea could exercise their right to recall him through the back door, from what could have ostensibly been a glorified loan.
Bate is expected to germinate Mark Jackson’s U23 side at first, but amid discussions to bring the player to Elland Road, it has been made clear that the 18-year-old has a first-team future at the club.
When that may be will hinge quite heavily on Bate’s development, however given the player’s vast experience of youth football – including 20 appearances in Premier League 2 Division 1 last term, that may not be very long at all.
“Leeds, who had already agreed personal terms with the youngster on Tuesday, have beaten West Ham United, Liverpool, Leicester City and Brighton & Hove Albion to his signature,” writes Chelsea correspondent Simon Johnson for The Athletic.
For the reported fee, and Bate’s potential, this could certainly prove to be a hugely beneficial move for the player and Leeds United.
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