After years of suffering from careless financial decisions in the past, Leeds United finally appear to be preparing for a sustainable future. Not only have Marcelo Bielsa’s side secured Premier League safety for another season, they are also looking at how to build on that success in the years ahead. One of the areas that the club hierarchy has looked to do this has been through making shrewd additions to the development squad. One player in particular, Joe Gelhardt, has been showing an incredible amount of promise and could be an exciting prospect in the coming seasons.
Who is Joe Gelhardt?
Gelhardt spent his youth career at the academy between 2013 and 2018. His breakout season for the senior team was in 2019-20, when he made 19 appearances for the Latics in all competitions. Because they were relegated at the end of the campaign, Wigan were forced to sell off a lot of their talent. Leeds swept in and signed the player for a mere £1 million, a price that could look like an incredible bargain later down the line.
Gelhardt is certainly an exciting player who could be big for Leeds in the future. The 18-year-old forward’s playing style has been compared to Wayne Rooney because of his dribbling, power, and dogged tenacity. He is also able to play across a number of positions in attack, similar to the former Manchester United man.
Leeds United fans are licking their lips at the prospect of seeing Gelhardt in the first team. According to the online betting, the Whites are nowhere near the relegation mix, with Fulham and Newcastle looking to battle it out for the final survival place. This means that Bielsa may feel it is safe to experiment with his team in the final few games of the season. At this point, Gelhardt could be given a chance.
Bielsa Keeping Him Close
With Gelhardt having played a full season of Championship football last year, many people may have expected Leeds to loan the player out to a second-tier side this term. Instead, they decided to keep him at the Thorp Arch training ground where he has been playing regular football for the U23s. This could indicate that Bielsa has Geldhardt in his immediate plans, and wants to keep him close so he can assist with his development.
Gelhardt has been prolific in Premier League 2 Division 2 this season, and managed 11 goals in his first 15 showings. It could be that he will be ready to make the step up to the first team in the 2021-22 campaign. The player could be Patrick Bamford’s understudy, but he could also be deployed in the number ten role that Rodrigo and Tyler Roberts have been sharing this term.
It remains to be seen when Leeds will unleash their new piece of firepower, but there is no doubt that Gelhardt has the raw potential to set the top flight alight. If he has the same kind of impact as Rooney had at Old Trafford, it could be the start of an amazing period for Leeds.