Sunderland sign Leeds United defender on long-term contract

Sunderland have completed the permanent signing of highly-rated youngster Niall Huggins.

Saturday, 21st August 2021, 2:34 pm

Huggins has signed a four-year deal on Wearside this afternoon, and adds much-needed depth to Lee Johnson’s full back options.

The 20-year-old is comfortable playing on either flank, and made his first-team debut for Leeds United at Arsenal earlier this year.

However, with Marcelo Bielsa not seeing a pathway to his first team for Huggins, a sale has been sanctioned.

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Niall Huggins has signed a four-year deal at Sunderland

Neither club has made reference to a fee, but Leeds are understood to retain a sell-on clause.

Johnson outlined the attributes his seventh summer signing will bring to the club, saying: “Niall is an interesting player and tactically he’s very versatile – he is also very good physically in terms of his speed and acceleration and he’s a good dribbler, whether that’s playing left back or right back.

“He’s a bright kid and he’s had a very good education at Leeds, but now it’s the right time for him to step into that first-team environment.

“Niall is another one that we have added to our stable of quality young players, so we are very happy to have him and we’re looking forward to working with him.”

Huggins said he was ‘absolutely buzzing’ to have made the move, and said the club’s commitment to giving youth an opportunity was key.

“I’m absolutely buzzing to be here and as soon as the opportunity arose, I knew straightaway that this was a huge opportunity for me to develop my game,” he said.

"For me, the thing I want to do now is play first-team football, so to have seen some of the young lads coming in and having a chance to prove themselves, and seeing the fans’ reaction to it, is really good and it made me want to come here even more. I’m really excited to get started.”

Leeds United paid tribute to their academy graduate, who was a key part of their U23 title win last season.

In a statement they said: “We would like to take this opportunity to wish Niall every success for the future, he has been a credit to the club and we are sure he will achieve great things in his career.”