Wigan Athletic are a side who are definitely in the midst of bad fortune at the moment. Taken over and then slammed into administration by their new owners and facing a -12 point deduction to their season, things are beyond dark for the Latics. They also face other clubs cherrypicking their talents as is happening with teen striker Joe Gelhardt who The Sun’s Alan Nixon says is being hunted by a host of clubs.
The Liverpool-born youngster has been on the Latics books since he was a youngster but the need to even things out financially might mean that a decision to sell comes above his obvious potential. It’s been a meteoric rise for the 17-year-old who only progressed from the youth set-up at the DW Stadium to the Under-18s at the start of last season.
The six-cap-three-goal England Under-18 striker has featured on the bench from the opening day of this current season for the Latics. He first featured for Wigan’s first-team in a 27-minute substitute appearance against Barnsley on deadline day, August 31. His debut senior goal for the Latics came the very next game during an 18-minute substitute appearance against Hull City. This game saw the youngster score in a 2-2 draw away at the KCOM.
In an article published yesterday, The Sun’s Alan Nixon reported that Gelhardt was a wanted young man with top-tier sides Tottenham, Everton and Southampton all interest, as are perennial SPL champions Celtic. That was something written about in more depth here on The72 earlier.
However, further credence was added to this story by journalist Phil Hay of The Athletic. Hay was known by some as ‘Mr Leeds’ when he was at the Yorkshire Evening Post. From his time at the YEP, Hay gained the confidence of both the Whites as a club and their fans as a collective.
As such, when asked on Twitter by a Leeds United fan about this interest, Hay’s reply (below) adds some weight to the rumoured news:
Leeds like Gelhardt
— Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) July 11, 2020
Leeds United have just seen their Academy set-up upgraded to Category 1 status and this carries a degree of cachet. Added to this, the Whites are perfectly set at the top of the Sky Bet Championship and a win today over Swansea could stretch a six-point gap to the playoffs with just nine points to play for.
Interest in someone like Gelhardt, when combined with the position that Leeds United find themselves in and compounded by their policy of youth suddenly doesn’t seem so far-fetched. Adding in that “Leeds like Gelhardt” by Phil Hay is just the shine being added to an already glossy picture.