Leeds United announced midfielder Lewis Bate as their fifth signing of the summer window on Thursday morning.
The 18-year-old has joined from Premier League rivals Chelsea, penning a three-year deal at Elland Road despite reported interest from elsewhere. He has signed for a reported fee of £1.5m and it is believed a sell-on clause was installed, although there is reportedly no buy-back option.
An England youth international, Bate was highly-rated at Stamford Bridge but the lure of a clear pathway to first-team football in West Yorkshire has helped Leeds secure his signature.
Chelsea have developed an unwanted reputation in recent years for allowing players to leave before they have fulfilled their potential.
Click to play
Tap to play
The video will auto-play soon8Cancel
Declan Rice, Kevin de Bruyne, Mohamed Salah and Romelu Lukaku were all allowed to depart before showing the extent of their ability in West London and some supporters expressed concern that selling Bate could come back to haunt them.
One supporter claimed it would have been better to sanction a loan deal and another insisted selling Bate was something the club would regret.
However, others conceded it would be difficult for Bate to break into Chelsea’s first-team considering the stern competition for places.
Leeds have made a habit of luring prospects away from other clubs, made possible by their ability to reference Marcelo Bielsa’s willingness to integrate young players.
Even if they do not always feature in the first-team, players within the under-23 set-up work closely with Bielsa and the senior side, giving constant opportunities to impress.
Although Bate will initially link up with Mark Jackson’s under-23 side, he will be pushing for a place in Bielsa’s plans and may benefit from Leeds being light on depth in central midfield.
Only time will tell whether Chelsea will regret allowing him to leave was a mistake and Blues supporters will undoubtedly keep an eye on Bate’s development in West Yorkshire.
Do you want an exclusive pre-season Leeds United preview – both in your inbox and through your letterbox? Head over here to find out more and secure your copy .