By Craig Scott

18th Feb, 2021 | 7:04am

Leeds blew Leicester out the water to sign Gelhardt - Phil Hay

Victor Orta played a major role in helping Leeds United sign Joe Gelhardt over Leicester City in the summer, according to The Athletic’s Phil Hay.

Gelhardt, 18, joined the Whites from Wigan last year in a deal worth £700,000. Hay reports that fee is far lower than it should have been due to the Latics entering administration and suffering relegation to League One.

Since then, the striker has impressed in Leeds’ Under-23s team and has been included in Marcelo Bielsa’s last two matchday squads in the Premier League when he’s sat on the bench for the win over Crystal Palace and defeat to Arsenal.

However, without director of football Victor Orta, Gelhardt might be a Leicester player now.

Hay wrote on The Athletic website: “Leicester City had the same idea and made enquiries of their own but according to sources close to Gelhardt, he was ‘blown away’ by the way in which Leeds’ director of football Victor Orta presented the offer from Elland Road to him.”

Orta masterclass?

Only time will really tell how good Gelhardt will turn out to be but the signs so far are extremely positive.

The England Under-18 international has scored seven goals in 12 Premier League 2 appearances for the Whites’ Under-23s.

Mark Jackson’s side have been in superb form in Premier League 2 this term as they currently sit top of Division 2 – 10 points clear of second-placed Stoke.

Gelhardt’s form in front of goal has been a major contributing factor towards Leeds’ brilliant debut season in Premier League 2 and a first-team debut surely beckons for the teenager.

Seeing him on the bench against Palace and Arsenal means that Bielsa must rate Gelhardt very highly. However, Rodrigo won’t be injured forever and that could mean Gelhardt’s chance in the first-team is limited for now.

As the season reaches its conclusion, we might see Bielsa play more of the youngsters and hand a senior debut to the former Wigan striker but for now, there’s no harm in him getting the odd taste of being in the first-team while continuing to tear up the Under-23s league.

In other Leeds United news, there’s been a big twist in the speculation linking Raphinha to Manchester United