By George Overhill

20th Nov, 2022 | 11:40am

Rodrigo may have convinced Leeds United board not to make January signing fans have begged for

Rodrigo may have given the Leeds United board reason to believe that they can avoid signing striker help in January, according to the Yorkshire Evening Post.

The club’s record signing has been in the best form of his Whites career so far this season, and has helped negate the absence of Patrick Bamford, who has again been hampered by a myriad of injury problems.

Fans were desperate for senior cover for the English striker to be brought in during the summer window, but teenage Wilfried Gnonto, who is not an out-and-out centre-forward, was the only arrival in that position, and now Rodrigo, who isn’t either, has netted nine Premier League goals to give the appearance of an answer to the problem.

Leeds United CEO Angus Kinnear had cited the former Valencia man and forgotten youngster Joe Gelhardt alongside Bamford as excellent attacking options at the start of the season, although only one has featured regularly.

Writing in the YEP on Sunday morning (20 November) Joe Donnohue said: “Kinnear and the Leeds board may perceive Rodrigo’s early season form as justification not to invest in a centre-forward when the January transfer window opens, what with the absence of value and middling success the club have previously encountered in the winter market.

“That would be a mistake.”

Not again

Rodrigo is performing admirably this season, and has already surpassed his goal totals in each of his previous two seasons at the club.

His scoring form of late, coupled with the emergence of Gnonto and Crysencio Summerville in supporting roles, has gone a long way to calming the fears of relegation and where goals were going to come from.

But this season is the exception rather than the rule for the 31-year-old’s time with United, and Bamford still remains the only real number nine in the squad.

Unless there is a major sudden change for him it seems clear that he cannot be expected to remain available for long periods, and Rodrigo filling in well at a position where he is not a natural fit is papering over the crack.

The net spend in the summer was minimal after selling Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips, and the defence is now a glaring priority.

But a Bamford replacement has been something supporters have wanted to see for multiple windows now as he is so often out, and going through January while leaving that task unfulfilled again would be taking a major risk.

In other Leeds United news, Victor Orta has a Gnonto-style emergency option for the defence in January.