Marcelo Bielsa made quite a staggering admission in his press conference on Thursday as he revealed that he’d like Eddie Nketiah to stay at the club beyond this season.
This is a rather surprising update as you’d have been forgiven for thinking that the Argentine doesn’t rate the striker that highly after starting Patrick Bamford over him in every single league game so far this season.
However, it seems as if the 64-year-old is a fan of the England U21 star as he wants him to remain at Elland Road for another season after his initial loan spell ends.
But is this the right move for Leeds? Something has stopped Bielsa from handing Nketiah his first start this season, so why would he want him to stay for another year after opting to neglect him throughout his first few months at the club.
It’s a real head-scratcher, so we asked our team of writers to give their verdicts on whether or not Leeds should try and keep hold of Nketiah for a second season.
“Having been restricted to just 262 minutes of Championship football this season, Eddie Nketiah must be scratching his head wondering why on Earth he opted for a loan move to Leeds. Marcelo Bielsa’s criminal use of the Arsenal striker means a second season at Elland Road simply wouldn’t make sense.
“The 6 foot 1 Patrick Bamford appears to be the man for the job for Leeds at the moment, given that he has already made 18 appearances in the league.
“Ultimately, it comes down to the profile of centre-forward Bielsa likes to play down the middle, and Nketiah just doesn’t fit the bill. The 20-year-old is an out-and-out poacher and likes playing on the shoulder of defenders. Bamford appears to be more well-rounded in his game, averaging 3.2 shots, 0.6 key passes and 0.9 aerial duels won per game.
“Leeds should look elsewhere when it comes to a possible second season for Nketiah.”
“While Nketiah provides a good alternative option for Leeds and Marcelo Bielsa currently, it is a shock that the manager has come out with a statement considering he is yet to start him in the league this term, especially when Patrick Bamford has misfired.
“Bamford has scored just six goals in 18 league games, yet Bielsa seems opposed to changing things, and if Leeds were to get promoted then it is surely less likely Nketiah will get his chance at Elland Road, or be a dependable goalscorer in the top flight.
“However, the Argentine may feel that after a year of working with the 20-year-old he may be moulded into the type of player he wants. We have seen an improvement from Jack Harrison in his second year at the club – with four goals and four assists – and that could be replicated with the Arsenal loanee.”
“Bielsa may want Eddie Nketiah for a second season but I cannot see Arsenal allowing that to happen considering how he’s been treated.
“This feels like something that will be completely out of their hands next summer, while the uncertainty surrounding the managerial situation could also play a role.
“However, if there is a chance they can re-sign him, they must do everything in their power to do so. Nketiah has proven himself to be a natural finisher, scoring five goals in all competitions this term despite being restricted to minimal appearances mainly from the substitutes bench.
“Patrick Bamford’s inconsistency means they need someone to help spread the workload and if he begins to find form after his injury spell, Leeds could be in business. In short, this is someone Leeds should definitely bring him back for a second spell. I don’t believe Arsenal will let that happen, however.”
“For me this move doesn’t make any sense.
“Leeds clearly don’t have a place for Nketiah in the starting XI at the moment and with the Whites looking good value to be promoted to the Premier League, you’d have to imagine that the 20-year-old would find game time even harder to come by next term.
“Leeds have looked as if they haven’t even wanted Nketiah during this initial spell, so the fact that Bielsa wants to have him for a second season is absolutely baffling and simply the wrong choice.
“The two parties should cut all ties once this initial deal has run its course.”
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