Leeds United look unlikely to pursue a January deal to re-sign Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah as his future remains in doubt.
Leeds look like they will cast an eye at certain targets in the January window with a handful of positions needing some attention at the moment.
The striker slot is one that has seen plenty of speculation, with links emerging to former loanee Eddie Nketiah as his contract winds down towards the summer.
While he’s a striker that Bielsa is familiar with from his 2019 stint, Leeds Live journalist Beren Cross believes it’s not one to keep an eye on:
“As much as Leeds fans have a soft spot for him and he knows Bielsa’s system better than most outsiders, the numbers involved would still be massive for a striker like Nketiah.
“If Arsenal are looking to sell him before losing him for nothing in the summer, they’re still going to be looking for well over £15m because he’s a young English talent.
“The wages would not be small either and, at the end of the day, when everyone is fit, he’s not going to play ahead of Bamford.”
With this in mind, we take a look at two reasons why Leeds are right not to be pursuing a January move for Nketiah…
Not worth it for us
Nketiah is undoubtedly a great finisher – he showed us first-hand in the EFL Cup recently – and would be a great addition to plenty of sides that are surely taking a look at him.
However, to bring him in after the new year, you’re looking at an eight-figure fee as Cross outlines, and we don’t need to be spending that much on a striker.
When everyone is fit, Nketiah wouldn’t be starting regardless of his form, as we showed during our time in the Championship.
To spend that much on a player who isn’t better than what we have isn’t our business model and with that will obviously come his wages.
It seems a poor investment to bring him in when his game time won’t justify the level of spending.
Should Leeds have a spare £10-15million in January, you’d that it would go on a necessary signing rather than someone of Nketiah’s ilk. He’d be a nice signing to make, but more of a luxury.
Does he fit our system?
We can’t sit here and say that the Arsenal man didn’t make a positive impact when he came on and scored, winning us points against Brentford, Barnsley, and Preston with his goals in the 19/20 term.
However, we can definitely say that Bielsa was right to keep him out of the lineup in spite of his knack of finding the net while Bamford couldn’t.
The current Leeds man has so much more to his game that makes him the focal point of our side, and Nketiah couldn’t replicate that.
As much as Nketiah’s a lethal finisher, Bamford’s pressing and link-up play are far superior, he brings others into the game with ease.
We’d still be looking at similar shortcomings if he arrived because even though Mikel Arteta wanted to make it out like terminating his loan was for the best, he’s done virtually nothing to aid Nketiah’s development since.