Athletic journalist Phil Hay has said that Leeds United “have a list” of strikers they will look to bring in if Eddie Nketiah is recalled by Arsenal in January.
The striker is back in the mix for Leeds following an injury and played the last 10 minutes against Middlesbrough.
The score was already 4-0 when Nketiah came in and he couldn’t add to the haul.
However, there is growing speculation that he could be recalled by Arsenal because of a lack of game time.
The Daily Mail was the latest to report this and said Arsenal were “angry” at the amount he’s played.
That sounds a bit strong but they did quote Freddie Ljungberg, their new interim manager, as saying, “I need to be careful [what I say] but I think Eddie is a great player. If he goes on loan we want him to play football and get minutes otherwise they can maybe be here.
“I feel a bit sorry for him because he is a great player and the future of this club. When he has had his chance he scores goals and that’s what he is about.”
Leeds will need to replace Nketiah if he does go back and Hay has mentioned two names that are in the mix.
One is Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster and we’ve heard him mentioned before. The other is more of a surprise – Everton’s Cenk Tosun.
He signed for Everton for £20.5m in January 2018 but has struggled in the Premier League, scoring just 10 goals in 49 games. He has only made four league appearances this season and scored one goal.
Talking in a fan Q&A on the Athletic, Hay wrote, “They [Leeds] have a list of potential strikers in place for if Nketiah goes back. Brewster at Liverpool would be one of those.
“I had mention of Tosun at Everton too but he’s involved there at the moment and wouldn’t be cheap in terms of wages.”
The problems Leeds have are twofold. Firstly, money. There isn’t a lot and unless Andrea Radrizzani decides to go for broke and ignore financial fair play in the hope of promotion, a permanent move is surely off the cards.
If Nketiah goes, it will free some money up for a loan.
The second issue is that a striker would be coming in knowing he’s going to play second fiddle to Patrick Bamford. We can’t see Tosun wanting to drop from the Premier League to play second fiddle in the Championship. And it’s tough to see Liverpool letting Brewster join on loan without a guarantee of game-time, something Leeds will be hard-pressed to do.
It’s a problem Leeds hope they won’t have to deal with but the fact they’re preparing for life without Nketiah shows it’s a distinct possibility.
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