By Anthony Onifade

15th Jan, 2023 | 9:21am

Leeds United could allow Joe Gelhardt loan after FA Cup replay, Blackburn move now on the cards

Blackburn Rovers are keen on signing Leeds United wonderkid forward Joe Gelhardt, though the Whites will only allow the 20-year-old to leave on loan after their FA Cup Third Round Replay against Cardiff City this week, according to journalist Alan Nixon.

The Whites’ academy product has been linked with a move away for most of the January window, to get game time elsewhere, and a whole host of Championship clubs have been touting his services, including Wigan Atletic and Swansea City [Graham Smyth, 10 January].

Gelhardt could well find his game time at Elland Road extremely limited following the completion of club-record forward signing Georginio Rutter from the German Bundesliga outfit TSG Hoffenheim [14 January].

And according to Nixon, writing on his Patreon account [15 January], Sky Bet Championship high-flyers Blackburn are keen on taking the youngster on loan to aid their promotion push, viewing him as a “perfect” signing.

However, Nixon also goes on to report that the Whites will only allow Gelhardt to leave following the conclusion of their FA Cup third-round replay withp Cardiff City at Elland Road. Wigan and Swansea remain interested, though game-time will of course be a deciding factor for Gelhardt.

Correct Gelhardt decision

With Leeds adding to their forward quota following the signing of Rutter, it does seem increasingly likely that Gelhardt won’t be featuring at all for the Whites, especially after Patrick Bamford’s return from injury.

The 20-year-old desperately needs to develop and mature even further, and a move to a Sky Bet Championship club may help him do that. Leaving Elland Road temporarily is the correct decision for him.

However, the young gifted striker must ensure that this move is beneficial to him and that he won’t be facing another spell on the bench. He’s a player who needs games at a decent level to grow and further his education as a young forward, which means he needs to be given the opportunity and room to do just that.

Whether Blackburn is the right club, remains to be seen, given they have Ben Brereton Diaz, Jack Vale and Sam Gallagher in their attacking weaponry, Gelhardt may find his opportunities stunted at Ewood Park.

Wigan Athletic despite their growing struggles to stay in the division or even Swansea who are battling for promotion, may just prove the right clubs for Gelhardt to thrive in. The ball is certainly in his court.

n other Leeds United news, Fabrizio Romano has dropped a major update on World Cup star Azzedinie Ounahi’s potential January move to Elland Road.