Leeds United are building something of a reputation for their signing and development of some of the most exciting youth prospects that European football has to offer.
The likes of Joe Gelhardt, Sam Greenwood, Crysencio Summerville and Illan Meslier have all arrived at Elland Road in recent years before quickly going on to establish themselves in the first team.
It appears that this is a trend that Victor Orta is desperate to maintain, with the Whites’ director of football having secured the further additions of Sonny Perkins, Darko Gyabi and Brenden Aaronson over the course of this summer’s transfer window. Indeed, the latter two of these new additions have already made waves in the Whites’ senior squad.
However, there is one relatively recent signing who is yet to feature under the management of Jesse Marsch, despite appearing to be one of the club’s most exciting young prospects, in 18-year-old Mateo Joseph.
Indeed, following his move from Espanyol in January, the centre-forward has impressed in the various age groups at Thorp Arch, scoring one goal and registering one assist over four starts in the Under-18 Premier League last season, while bagging one goal in three Premier League 2 starts last time out.
However, it has been the youngster’s form so far this term which has really caught the eye, with the Spanish sensation having already scored five goals in four Premier League 2 outings for the under-21s. That ranks him as the joint-top scorer in the division and has seen Marsch sit up and take notice of the teenager.
Speaking about the striker’s potential following his four-goal haul in a 5-2 win over Derby County’s under-21s earlier this season, the American said of Joseph (via Leeds Live): “I think Mateo has developed a lot since I’ve been here. He understands pressing and he understands how to play with intensity. He also has quality and a goal-scoring knack.
“I think because of his intelligence, because of his quality, and because of his adaptation, he has the potential to be a really important player here. The four-goal match obviously is a big statement.”
Furthermore, the youngster – who also bagged 44 goals in 56 games between the under-16 and under-19 age groups at Espanyol – has been described as “lightning quick” by Leeds Live’s Joe Donnohue. The same journalist revealed on Monday that the 18-year-old has been pictured in training with the first-team squad ahead of the upcoming Premier League fixture against Nottingham Forest next Monday.
As such, considering the sheer amount of potential that the centre-forward quite clearly possesses, it would seem a wise move for Marsch to begin introducing the youngster to first-team football sooner rather than later. Should Joseph continue developing at his current rate in the senior game and earn the 48-year-old’s prolonged trust, he could well save Leeds millions of pounds in the transfer market.