According to the Daily Mirror (December 11, page 53), Keiren Westwood was set to join Leeds United on a free transfer. However, Phil Hay of Yorkshire Evening Post (Cited by Bristol Live), who is generally a reliable source, recently claimed that the Whites have ruled out a possible move for the Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper.
Like many, we thought that this would have been a top signing for the Whites given his ample experience at the Championship level and his level of performance over the years. The custodian was part of the 2014-15 Championship team of the season and has also won two time player of the year for the Owls.
United are definitely in need of a goalkeeper after Jamal Blackman broke his tibia and had to return to Chelsea. Bailey Peacock Farrell got lucky as he was going to be dropped in favour of Blackman as confirmed (Leeds Live) by Bielsa himself. The Northern Irish custodian has shown promising signs here and there, but he seems like a weak link of the side after some of his recent errors.
Given that he is 22, the custodian is still a work in progress and one should remember that it was only last season that he broke into the first team. Therefore the youngster deserves some more time. An experienced goalkeeper is the need of the hour for the Whites, and Ireland international Westwood would have been a perfect fit.
The Owls goalkeeper is yet to make an appearance this season because he was out with injury but he recently featured in the u-23 game for his side.
Currently, William Huffer is deputising for Peacock Farrell, and the youngster made his debut against Bristol City recently when the Northern Irish goalkeeper was out with a minor injury. Huffer managed to keep a clean sheet on his debut, but he was hardly tested on the day.
A vocal and a dominant goalkeeper at the back instils a lot of confidence in the defence, and the Whites should not look to bring another young gun as a deputy or to compete for places with Peacock Farrell. The team is already quite inexperienced, especially after injury setbacks and the Whites should go after a proven quantity.
It remains to be seen now who the club might go for now that Westwood has been reportedly ruled out. Quite a few names are doing the rounds at the moment, and that includes some marquee names like Tom Heaton (The Sun) and Karl Darlow. Both of them are of Premier League pedigree and if not Westwood then, Bielsa should consider these two in the January window.