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Leeds linked to Finnish defender Aapo Halme

The 19-year-old defender is expected to sign in “the next few days” according to the Finnish press.

UEFA EURO 2017 elite group 1'Netherlands U19 v Finland U19'

It was rumoured back in September, and it is back. Finnish publication MTV Sport are saying Leeds United will sign the young Finland centre-back Aapo Halme from HJK Helsinki for what they say is a “significant transfer fee” (semi-educated guess £250k - £1m, probably involving add-ons and sell-on clauses).

The 6’4” defender is out of contract at the end of the 2018 season (note: the Finnish league is a Summer league so runs along with the calendar year, his deal will probably expire on New Years Eve 2018) and if the reports are accurate this deal could be done very soon.

The players performances this year have been described as a ‘convincing breakthrough’ and having represented Finland at Under 17 and under 19 level, he this season has made the step up and been called up to the Under 21 side.

Last season he made 13 appearances, 10 from the start, for the HJK Helsinki side that won the Veikkausliiga by 20 points with a +62 goal difference. While it is not the strongest league the team didn’t concede many goals which is hopefully a good sign.

Halme started his career at FC Honka before moving to Klubi 04, who are the “second team” of HJK, they are currently playing in the Kakkonen (3rd tier) but have played in the Ykkonen recently (2nd tier). Halme didn’t even play in the reserves for a full-season before being called up to the HJK first team as a 17 year old.

If the player is signed I wouldn’t expect him to see much first team football this season as Pontus Jansson and Liam Cooper are very settled and have had a good partnership but a bit of football in the u23 side until the end of the season could hopefully stand him in good stead for next season.