Comment: Leeds United have primed ex Wigan starlet – next season must be Championship loan
Leeds United took advantage of Wigan’s financial woes to land starlet striker Joe Gelhardt from the Latics. By saying ‘took advantage’, I mean that in a non-vulture circling way.
The Whites didn’t pick Wigan clean, but they knew that they wanted striker Gelhardt and made a concerted effort to get their man – which they did.
Gelhardt has gone so far as to make the bench six times for Marcelo Bielsa’s Whites this season, the latest of these being the 2-1 away win against Fulham on March 19.
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Gelhardt fully primed but must be let loose
By the time he arrived at Elland Road, Gelhardt was already a seasoned Championship player due to his time served at Wigan Athletic. Still only 18, the England Under-18 youngster had 19 appearances and a goal at first-team level.
His move to Leeds United came off the back of that potential. It is a move that is definitely paying off for the West Yorkshire club who are seeing the best of what they knew they would be getting.
He’s lighting up the Premier League 2 competition for Leeds United’s Under-23s who head the league table by a comfortable margin. He’s made 15 appearances for the young Whites and has scored 11 goals whilst providing three assists.
That impressive tally includes a hat-trick last time out against West Brom in a 5-0 win as well as braces against Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace earlier in the season.
He’s primed for sure, but he equally needs to be let loose.
Surely a wasted move if no Championship loan next season
A fairytale move would see Gelhardt return to Wigan and score the goals that fired them back to the Sky Bet Championship. That’s the stuff of dreams though. No slight intended but the youngster they call Joffy is better than a League One striker.
The only way that Leeds United could test the water, whilst ensuring that his potential and talent continue to develop, is by considering a loan to a Championship side. He’s good enough and there would be many sides that would gladly bring him on board for the season.
Anything other than that would be a waste of his talents. He’s proved that he can do it at Premier League 2 level. It’s unlikely that he’d be given a run in the Leeds team with Patrick Bamford and Rodrigo ahead of him.
That just leaves Leeds United the option of a Championship loan. A loan that they’d be mad not to sanction.