Opinion

Forget Sarr: Leeds United must consider Watford ace that fits Jesse Marsch criteria – View

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Image for Forget Sarr: Leeds United must consider Watford ace that fits Jesse Marsch criteria – View

Leeds United are looking for a young, versatile striker to add to their attacking depth this summer, and Watford’s Joao Pedro fits the bill.

Links last night stirred us Leeds fans into a frenzy when it was reported that a move for Watford forward Ismaïla Sarr was nearing an agreement.

The morning saw links shut down quite swiftly by a number of outlets, but what it highlights is that Watford’s front line is awash with talent.

A front three of Sarr, Emmanuel Dennis and Joao Pedro was not enough to see the Hornets stay in the Premier League, but they’ve already started to show this season that they are too good to be staying in the Championship for too long.

It’s unlikely that the promotion-hopefuls will want to lose more than one of their key forwards – as Nottingham Forest turn the screw on signing Dennis for £20million.

However, it’s the other of the three that looks a great fit for Leeds’ attacking recruitment plan.

Not only did Leeds Live’s Beren Cross highlight that Leeds need a 19 to 25-year-old able to operate in multiple attacking roles, but Jesse Marsch’s pre-match press conference comments further emphasise Leeds’ need to bring in someone of that ilk.

So, as Sarr links die down very quickly, Pedro could be the player to go for.

Joao Pedro scoring the winner against Sheffield United, August 1, 2022. (Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

At nearly 21-years-old, he’s only a couple-hundred days older than Joe Gelhardt, with more Premier League minutes under his belt – all while playing in a variety of roles at Vicarage Road.

Pedro managed the same amount of goal involvements as Gelhardt last season (four) in considerably more minutes, but looked a player with a lot of potential and one only going to get better as time went on.

Versatility has helped him become more of a rounded attacker than just someone who’s a threat in the penalty area, managing 3.07 progressive passes, 2.79 dribbles, and 2.68 shot-creating actions per 90 (via Fbref.com).

Will Leeds sign a forward before the deadline?

Yes

Yes

No

No

The Brazilian isn’t just a livewire in possession, but also a nuisance as part of a defensive unit, as 1.2 tackles, 1.04 interceptions, and 3.39 aerials won show.

TuttoMercatoWeb did claim in the last 24 hours that Leeds are closing in on a deal to sign Pedro on loan, and while it’s a report that is difficult to believe, the logic is there to make him a new signing.

A permanent move is the only acceptable route for such a signing, but Pedro has all the attributes to fit the profile of a forward Leeds and Marsch want.

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Leeds United season ticket holder since 2013/14, currently situated in the middle of the FA5 noise. From Pablo Hernandez to 5-1 drubbings, I've seen it all at Elland Road.