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Leeds ship out four on Deadline Day

Good to have them off the wage bill is probably the best description for three of them.

Derby County v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Leeds United managed to get four players out of the door on Deadline day (although Leeds’ deadline for incoming players passed long ago). Three of them, Leeds needed to get off the wage bill, and one youngster who had fallen down the pecking order.

Former Belgium U21 international Laurens De Bock was first out the door, joining League One side Sunderland AFC on loan until the end of the season. De Bock joined Leeds in January 2018 and made his debut in an agonising last minute 3-4 defeat against Millwall at Elland Road. Leeds would fail to win any of the matches that De Bock played in - drawing four and losing three. His worst performance (of a really bad bunch) came against Derby County - a game which was referred to by the Leeds fanbase as “De Bocky Horrorshow”.

This was followed by former Netherlands international Vernon Anita, who was paid off and released by the club, following his unsuccessful free transfer from Newcastle United. This deal was expected to be something of a coup for Leeds - Anita having done well at Newcastle during their Championship winning season that got them back into the Premier League. However, Anita was rarely used in central midfield and instead played as full-back where his performances were a long way below the required standard.

Ireland U21 international Conor Shaughnessy joined Mansfield Town on loan for the season. Shaughnessy was picked up by Leeds following his release by Reading FC in the summer of 2016 and made good progress initially. He made his first team debut on the opening day of the 2017/18 season, coming off the bench against Bolton Wanderers.

Initially a central midfielder, he put in some good performances at centre-back including a Man of the Match performance in a 0-0 draw with Fulham FC at Elland Road. However, his progress stagnated and his level of performance dropped significantly. His only appearance last season came in the League Cup defeat at home to Preston North End in which he had “a shocker”. Now 23, he needs game time if he is going to get his football career back up and running.

Finally, another Ireland youth international, Callum Nicell, left Leeds United by mutual consent. Nicell looked good in the under 23 set up and made a couple of appearances on the bench for the first team but never made a senior appearance for Leeds. Nicell played on trial at Leicester City and Sheffield United over the summer and it is expected that the former Leeds academy player of the year won’t have much trouble finding a new club.