Leeds United went through a busy summer of business in the transfer window as they brought in a host of fresh recruits and allowed some players to depart Elland Road.
Victor Orta sanctioned exits for Dan James, Kalvin Phillips, and Raphinha, with the latter two leaving on permanent deals to Manchester City and Barcelona respectively.
He reinvested that money into Jesse Marsch’s squad to bolster the team as he brought in the likes of Brenden Aaronson, Tyler Adams, Luis Sinisterra, and Marc Roca, among others, throughout the summer.
This means that Orta could have a number nine on his radar heading into the January transfer window, with Patrick Bamford and Rodrigo – who can also play in midfield – being the two senior strikers on the books until then.
However, Marsch could now save owner Andrea Radrizzani millions by finding a solution to their problem within the squad.
He could prevent the club from needing to splash out a huge transfer fee on a new centre-forward by unleashing Joe Gelhardt and giving him regular game time before the World Cup break.
The 20-year-old, who Beren Cross dubbed “absolutely outrageous“, has played five matches in the Premier League this season but has only started one match and needs an extended run of games to show that he has the quality to be the striker they have been searching for.
He showed glimpses of being a big player for Leeds last season as he caught the eye in his limited game time for the club in the top-flight. The gem only started five matches in the division, out of 20 appearances, and chipped in with two goals and four assists – creating four ‘big chances’ for his teammates.
Gelhardt, who Jamie Redknapp described as a “human wrecking ball“, was initially promoted to the first team after he set the Premier League 2 on fire for the youth team. He racked up 18 goals and four assists in 26 matches at that level and has 36 direct goal contributions in his club career to date, which highlights the goalscoring potential he has within him.
At the age of 20, he is still learning the game and growing with more experience and exposing him to a run of starts in the top-flight could accelerate his development and help him to become the striker they need.
His goal contributions in the Premier League last season and his immense record at youth level suggest that the quality is there for him to be the go-to man for Marsch if he can fulfill his potential.
Therefore, the American head coach must unleash him from the start and allow him the chance to prove that he can fill the void up front, saving the club millions in the process.