Second Leeds United exit confirmed with new deal after 'higher up' rejection and clear Farke verdict

-Credit: (Image: James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images)
-Credit: (Image: James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images)

Outgoing Leeds United midfielder Lewis Bate has secured his future with a three-year contract agreed at League Two champions Stockport County. The 21-year-old’s contract at Elland Road will expire at the end of this month, after a three-year stay, and he has found a permanent new home in League One.

The Hatters have been on a meteoric rise in recent years. Dave Challinor’s side won National League North, in the sixth tier, just five years ago, but will enter the third tier for the first time since 2010 from August.

Bate’s exit was confirmed with the publication of United’s recent retained list. The former Chelsea youth departs West Yorkshire with five first-team appearances to his name and one precious Premier League start.

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Jesse Marsch gave Bate his full top-flight debut in an Elland Road clash against Chelsea, ironically, as they fought against relegation in 2022. Bate was briefly involved under Daniel Farke last August, but failed to make the grade and went to Milton Keynes Dons on loan from January.

Challinor said: “Lewis is a player we attempted to sign in January, but it wasn’t to be. From that point, we’ve kept an eye on his situation and when we knew he was being released by Leeds, we immediately renewed our interest.

"We’ve had to be really patient as there was interest in Lewis from higher up, but thankfully our patience has been rewarded. For some time now, we’ve felt that our biggest evolution as a team would come from a ball-playing midfielder who will not only receive the ball in tight areas, but manipulate space and play forward, as well as drive forward when the opportunity presents itself.

“Lewis is fantastic at all of these things and will be of huge importance to our development. Personally, for him, playing in the Premier League and Championship is where he wants to get back to and we really feel he has every opportunity for that to be the case.”