By George Overhill

20th Jan, 2023 | 7:10am

Leeds United forward Joe Gelhardt now has longer queue of clubs after him amid Wigan push

Joe Gelhardt has a growing queue of clubs interested in signing him from Leeds United even as Wigan push for a deal, according to Alan Nixon.

Phil Hay wrote in The Athletic earlier on Thursday (19 January) that the 20-year-old appeared to be set for a return to the club that he was signed from, with Wigan Today then reporting that the Latics had won the race over six other sides.

But Sun journalist Nixon maintained throughout the day that the Whites forward is still being competed for and that the number of sides in for him is only increasing.

Responding to an enquiry off the back of the earlier reports of the Wigan move the reporter wrote on Twitter: “Just checked … and there’s still a queue …”

By late afternoon he replied to a further question about the queue, saying: “It’s got bigger … but other people need to get real now and make offers … cash … not talk.”

Gem

It is no surprise that Gelhardt is attracting this much interest, because he showed last season that he can produce some magic at crucial times when under pressure.

His lack of impact this term has been one of the more baffling aspects of the campaign, with a new contract in the summer [2 August] looking like it was the gateway to a more important role after his heroics against Norwich and Brighton in the relegation battle.

But despite Jesse Marsch always having good things to say about him, the opportunities to get on the pitch have been few and far between.

Granted, he hasn’t taken those opportunities in a way that would make it impossible to ignore him, and the form of Rodrigo despite injuries to Patrick Bamford has reduced his chances, but as the likes of Crysencio Summerville, Sam Greenwood and Willy Gnonto have surpassed him his future at Elland Road suddenly looks a lot less clear.

With club-record signing Georginio Rutter also added to the equation a loan seems like a no-brainer for a player who needs game time above all.

If there is a long list of clubs after him then the Whites can surely demand a reasonable loan fee, as surely they aren’t ready to actually sell him so soon after giving a five-year deal.

But if the potential for a bidding war emerges and any permanent exit had a buy-back clause inserted it may actually be an option.

It seems logical that he would like the idea of a return to Wigan, but if the deal is not as done as has been reported elsewhere there is perhaps still room for a more eye-catching move for Joffy this month.

In other Leeds United news, one player has been tipped to leave soon and make the club a massive amount of money in the process.