Leeds United’s youth academy has been a saviour in the last few months, with injuries piling up for Marcelo Bielsa.
The Whites have taken a lot of time to focus on investing in the under-23s since Marcelo Bielsa took over the club.
It’s led to a host of players coming through this season in the midst of an injury nightmare, with some staking a claim to become regulars at the moment.
It might not be the most glamorous way to spend money in the transfer window, but it’s going to save the club so much money going forward.
Here, we take a look at three players that are going to save Leeds millions in the future…
Where else to start than one of the big success stories of this season?
Gelhardt’s rise to prominence this term has been a long time coming for us fans, but he’s showing just why Bielsa was right to hold him back a year.
A goal, an assist, and two penalties won doesn’t even do him justice from his minutes in the team so far, because his overall impact is outstanding.
At £1million, Leeds have an England under-21 international who is going right to the top.
Patrick Bamford is the club’s first-choice striker but Gelhardt looks like a readymade replacement for him if we need a backup or the forward departs.
Up next is the man that everyone has extremely high hopes for following a summer move from Chelsea.
Bate joined Leeds’ under-23s despite former teammate Tino Livramento sealing a similar exit from Stamford Bridge and walking straight into Southampton’s starting lineup.
Bate’s wait for a senior debut was over with back-to-back outings against West Ham, and he impressed in both.
He may not have loved being subbed off after being subbed on in the league, but it wasn’t a performance-based decision, because he was tidy throughout.
Bate is someone who could present as an imminent solution to Leeds’ need to bring in midfielders this month, perhaps lessening the pressure on the club to find someone right away.
£1.5million was the fee Leeds paid to bring him to LS11, and you’d be hard pressed to find a midfielder in the country with his level of talent at that little a cost.
Completing our list of three is defender Leo Hjelde.
We could have easily named Charlie Cresswell or Pascal Struijk and had plenty to say, but Hjelde’s efforts of late put him right up there with the other emerging talents now.
Tasked with marking Michail Antonio on his debut, Hjelde looked far more mature than his age (18) would have you believe with how he handled the task and the game in general.
Akin to Struijk, Hjelde was also forced into a move to left-back to cover Junior Firpo against the Irons where he looked unfazed.
Versatility at his age in the senior game is a massive indicator of a quality player and someone who is now twice as likely to get opportunities because of being able to do both of those jobs well.
At £1million, Leeds have a readymade first-team centre-back who has experience in the men’s game already, and is only going to get better.
On top of Struijk and Cresswell, Hjelde’s emergence means that Leeds have a long-term trio ready to take over from the current mainstays.