By George Hartley

30th Dec, 2021 | 1:10pm

Journalist dismisses idea of Gaetano Berardi return to Leeds United in January

LeedsLive journalist Beren Cross has disregarded any chance of Gaetano Berardi returning to Leeds United after his summer exit.

The club writer responded to a question from web user Mattsalt86 who asked for his opinion on Berardi’s potential comeback.

The Swiss full-back left the club on a free transfer in the summer alongside Pablo Hernández but Cross has a blunt opinion on the defender’s potential return to the club.

With Junior Firpo’s performances leaving Leeds supporters underwhelmed, Leif Davis loaned out and Stuart Dallas being preferred in midfield, Bielsa has given minutes to youngster Liam McCarron. However, it’s a valid question to ask.

In the Q&A with LeedsLive, Cross said: “Left-back is one position which has caught my eye in recent weeks with the emergence of Liam McCarron on the fringes. Firpo has shown sparks of progression when he has had a run in the team, which has been painfully infrequent, unfortunately.”

“The injuries and the suspensions have not helped either. It doesn’t seem like one of the priority positions the club would look to fill with how well Struijk has played there when fit too.”

Cross went on to outline Berardi’s lack of fitness and free agent status as a potential red flag should Leeds look to re-sign their former player.

“I don’t see Berardi, without a club and a formal training programme since last summer, being a viable option for Leeds.”

January options

With the January transfer window on the horizon, fresh opportunities for Leeds to strengthen their backline are not far away.

Bielsa could look to bring a left-back into the club to add cover or provide another first-choice option if he is not fully on board with Firpo’s progression.

It would seem like a weak, knee-jerk reaction from the club to ask back a player who left the club and has, as Cross claims, not had a structured training plan since his departure.

The injury crisis at the club is causing major issues this season for Bielsa and further postponements due to COVID cases are adding insult to injury.

It may be sensible for Bielsa to stick with the options at his disposal or consider a loan move in the January window to bolster that position.

It remains to be seen whether Orta and Bielsa will keep faith in Firpo or make a change in the winter window to help ensure survival.

In other Leeds news, Orta would have to pay an “extraordinary amount” to seal midfielder in January