By Sam Stone

8th Jan, 2023 | 6:10pm

Phil Hay shares Joe Gelhardt exit update from Leeds United with new signing close

The Athletic’s Phil Hay has suggested Leeds United could make Joe Gelhardt available for a loan move if they land another striker.

Sky Sports journalist Florian Plettenberg revealed Leeds are in talks with Hoffenheim over a move for forward Georginio Rutter.

Hay has since claimed the acquisition of Rutter could well lead to the club sanctioning a loan move for Gelhardt who has seen a lack of game time in the 2022/23 season.

“Leeds, meanwhile, are understood to have received significant amounts of Championship interest in Joe Gelhardt, a forward whose already limited game-time might be compromised by the arrival of a new face at Elland Road. Swansea City are among Gelhardt’s admirers,” wrote Hay (The Athletic, 8 January).

“United have not made Gelhardt available as yet but the acquisition of Rutter or another striker could prompt discussions about whether Gelhardt will be allowed to consider temporary offers as a way of securing more regular first-team football.

“Leeds continue to see him as a major part of their long-term future and tied the 20-year-old to a deal to 2027 last year.”

Good call

It’s important to remember that Gelhardt is still extremely young and has a long time to show his worth at Elland Road. There are a number of younger players who are currently thriving in the first team, but sadly for Gelhardt, they all operate in a very similar position to him.

Rutter looks to be on his way to West Yorkshire and if another forward joins him at Leeds, a loan move for Gelhardt would seem like a sensible move from the club. He’s at an age where he has to be playing regularly to ensure he fulfils his potential and a move to a Championship side would see the young attacker play week in and week out.

This could well be a move Leeds delay until the very end of the window until the club are 100 per cent content with the business they have undertaken. One injury or a drop in form could open the door for Gelhardt, and if that happens, the youngster must ensure he grabs the opportunity with both hands and really stakes a first-team claim.

In other Leeds United news, a headline-making player who is linked with a move to Elland Road desperately wants a Premier League transfer in January.