By George Overhill

23rd Jan, 2023 | 11:10am

Joe Gelhardt loan exit still up in the air with Wigan offer not accepted by Leeds United

Wigan are the only club to make an official offer for Joe Gelhardt but Leeds United haven’t accepted it, according to Alan Nixon.

The Latics have appeared clear favourites to bring their former player back on a temporary basis for the remainder of the season for some time, but Nixon reported in The Sun on Saturday (21 January) that “bigger clubs” including Blackburn, Coventry, Swansea and Stoke had now joined the race, with Ewood Park apparently the Whites’ preference.

Phil Hay reported in The Athletic last week (19 January) that Wigan had come in with an offer, and it is widely believed that they are Gelhardt’s preference, yet he was still on the Leeds United bench for the goalless draw with Brentford on Sunday and Nixon has now reported that while that offer is the only official one so far, it hasn’t actually been accepted.

Responding to various enquiries on Twitter Sunday evening he wrote: “All clubs taking an interest have to start making proper offers to Leeds … only Wigan have done that so far …

“It has to be stressed that Wigan are the only club to make an official offer so far …”

When asked if that had been accepted he answered: “Not at this point”.

Rumbles on

As soon as the Georginio Rutter reports starting coming out [Florian Plettenberg, 7 January] it seemed a foregone conclusion that Gelhardt would be looking at a loan move this month at minimum.

His underuse by Jesse Marsch is somewhat of a mystery, but he hasn’t shone this season in the few opportunities he has received in the way he did at key points in the previous campaign.

A club-record signing who plays roughly the same position is going to eat up virtually all of the minutes he was getting and more, and while the club surely have plans for him longer-term he needs to be playing regular football now.

In the more than two weeks since the Rutter move came to light the Whites have played four times, and Gelhardt has still been in the squad each time, featuring in three, so clearly there is a hold up in the proposed move back to Wigan.

Whether it is a financial matter or the fact that the other sides belatedly joining the race has turned either the player or the Elland Road hierarchy’s heads, the longer things drag on the more chance there is that he misses out on a return to the DW Stadium.

With Wigan rooted to the bottom of the Championship table there might be a sentimental pull for Gelhardt to go back and save them from danger, but the club might feel it isn’t conducive to his development.

However, if one of the other sides want him they are going to need to get on with things as we head for the final week of the transfer window.

In other Leeds United news, Phil Hay shared a new injury update from Marsch after a player he said would be fit was surprisingly nowhere to be seen on Sunday.