According to Daily Star, Leeds United are confident of signing Joe Gelhardt this summer. The Wigan Athletic striker is poised to leave the club due to Coronavirus pandemic, with a host of clubs already interested in his services. But it is Leeds United who are in pole position to sign Gelhardt, and a deal could be reached within the coming week.
Joel Gelhardt: A rising star in English football?
A product of Wigan youth academy, Gelhardt was promoted to the senior squad last summer. Although he was less than a bit-part player for Paul Cook this past season, mustering only two starts in the Championship, the striker did impress in his limited number of opportunities. He has scored one goal in his 18 first-team appearances as Wigan were ultimately relegated.
Nevertheless, it is Gelhardt who has made quite an impression with his exquisite close control and an ability to drift past defenders. Indeed, the youngster can be termed as a modern centre-forward, one who is capable of drifting into a wider role and provide flair in the final third.
Additionally, the 18-year-old has a relatively short 1.79m frame that allows him to retain his balance while taking on defenders. As a result, it makes it easier for him to squeeze through tight spaces or apply a quick drop of the shoulders. Gelhardt has used the formula several times throughout the course of the campaign.
Moreover, the Wigan striker isn’t shy when it comes dropping deep and act as a ball-carrier, thus making him a well-rounded centre-forward. With Wigan being relegated to the third division, Gelhardt certainly needs to take the next step in his career, with Leeds United emerging as a potential destination.
Is Leeds an ideal destination for Gelhardt?
Gelhardt is, no doubt, one of the most talented players in the Championship at the moment. However, the biggest problem he might face at Leeds United is the lack of game-time.
The Whites already boast the services of Patrick Bamford. Following their promotion to the Premier League, they are likely to sign a more experienced centre-forward to add more quality in their productivity.
It is also fair to consider the fact Gelhardt may offer very little to the table for Leeds given the fact that his style of play is quite similar to Bamford’s. Such tactical incompatibility is combined with Marcelo Bielsa’s stubbornness when it comes to rotating the squad. Hence, it could be a difficult task for the youngster to establish himself as a first-team option for the Yorkshire outfit next season.
An ideal scenario for Leeds here will be to sign Gelhardt and immediately send him out on loan this summer to gain more experience at the highest level of football, which the young striker clearly requires at the moment.