After signing from Wigan Athletic in the summer, Joe Gelhardt has spent the majority of his Leeds United career thus far with the club’s U23s.
The 18-year-old forward has been in prolific form for the youth sides, bagging five goals in nine games at Premier League 2 level, playing in a number of different roles, including as an out-and-out number nine and even more withdrawn as a number ten.
But with Leeds reportedly in the market for a new striker, and Tyler Roberts being linked with an exit in this January transfer window, it’s surely time for Marcelo Bielsa to see what Gelhardt can do in the Premier League.
Speaking on The Phil Hay Show, The Athletic journalist Phil Hay said of the teenager: “He’s been hugely impressive in the (Under-23s). Every time I see him, he looks like a massively talented player. Leeds have been quite honest in saying that the money they paid for him, around about £700,000 up front, from what I was told, is a small fee for somebody with massive amounts of talent.
“The only reason that they were ever able to get involved at that level of valuation was purely because Wigan were in deep trouble and Wigan were in administration. He is, in the opinion of most people, worth more money than that.”
Whether it’s through cameo roles here and there, or the odd start, Bielsa could unearth a hidden gem in Gelhardt and perhaps even save them a tonne of money in the transfer market by trying to land another centre-forward.
And with Roberts’ long-term future uncertain at Elland Road given his lack of real game-time, Bielsa may be better served handing out those minutes to someone like Gelhardt, who Leeds clearly see as a hot prospect.