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Stuart McKinstry can save Leeds United millions this January

Leeds United are heading into January in dire straits.

They are just five points above the relegation zone, with several teams below them having a game or two in hand, and there’s a mounting injury crisis amongst Marcelo Bielsa’s first-team squad.

As many as 11 players missed the 4-1 defeat to Arsenal at the weekend – their third successive thrashing in the Premier League.

It means Bielsa, director of football Victor Orta and owner Andrea Radrizzani will surely go against their usual mid-season transfer window plans to actually sign someone.

Of course, the Argentinian head coach needs widespread additions across the team but there is one role that he may already have a solution to.

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It’s no secret that United have missed a creative influence in the final third, having waved goodbye to Pablo Herandez in the summer. Only five teams have scored fewer goals than Leeds (18), two of which occupy a place in the bottom three, whilst a little over 44% of their goals have come from set pieces alone.

Although Bielsa could well discover a new Hernandez in the form of academy gem Stuart McKinstry, who seems primed to save Radrizzani and co millions in the upcoming window.

The 19-year-old dynamo has already made his senior bow, coming on as a substitute during a Carabao Cup clash with Fulham in September this year, where he scored the winning penalty to see the Whites into the next round.

Meanwhile, for the U23s in the Premier League 2, he has provided three assists from 11 appearances, whilst playing anywhere in midfield.

The Athletic’s Phil Hay once labelled McKinstry as Leeds’ ‘next big thing’.

“He’s a very confident ball carrier, he’s physically strong, good upper body strength, excellent feet, good at beating his man and creative. In his head, he probably feels he can play in other positions up front as well,” he said.

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That very much sounds like Hernandez and in his hay day, he too was able to play on the wing, as well as centrally.

Elsewhere, McKinstry’s former academy director at Motherwell, Steven Hammell, lauded him as a “fabulous young player” who “will do wonderful things and become a household name in the next three or four years” to the Lanarkshire Live Sport Podcast.

Even some of his academy teammates have spotted his massive potential, likening him to Sergio Busquets and Lionel Messi, so the Elland Road faithful also have plenty to be excited about when it comes to their promising Scottish gem.

As such, Bielsa should turn to the teenage sensation in 2022 because he could well emerge as a solid candidate to replace Hernandez in attacking midfield.

AND in other news, Leeds could sign Bielsa’s next Ben White in swoop for “flawless” £18m-rated colossus

Article title: Stuart McKinstry can save Leeds United millions this January

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