Leeds United

Leeds United

Championship

Jesse Marsch teases Leeds January transfer plan with ‘riskier’ idea brewing in meantime; reveals injury latest

Jesse Marsch, October 2022

Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch has teased a January striker signing, adding that he could become “riskier” with his current group before then.

The Whites made a host of first-team additions in the summer transfer window across a range of positions. Rasmus Kristensen became a right-back signing, while Marc Roca and Brenden Aaronson bolstered the midfield.

Up front, Luis Sinisterra replaced Barcelona-bound winger Raphinha and Leeds eventually brought in a striker. Following frustration over Bamba Dieng and Cody Gakpo on deadline day, they signed Italy starlet Willy Gnonto from FC Zurich.

The 18-year-old has made the bench for Leeds’ past two Premier League games. However, Marsch insisted before Leeds signed him that Gnonto would be a long-term project.

And his arrival has not stopped fans calling for more fresh firepower up top. Patrick Bamford is seemingly walking a fitness tightrope after so long out, with Rodrigo, Sinisterra and Joe Gelhardt the other established options.

Speaking in a press conference on Friday, Marsch refused to rule out a new goalscorer arriving at Leeds in January.

“We’re meeting in a few weeks about the window, but it’s too early to discuss these things,” Marsch said.

“However, that was clearly a [summer] target of ours and we will assess the attackers moving forward. The young group of attackers we have is very exciting and the beauty is with the Under-21s or us they show that quality every day.

“[It] makes me think when the right time is to give them opportunities. Better results might allow me to be riskier with the youngsters. We want this to be part of our process.”

Leeds are under fire after their good early-season form took a nosedive. Indeed, the Whites have not won in five matches – picking up only two points – after going unbeaten in their first four games.

Jesse Marsch addresses Leeds solutions

But, Marsch has insisted that Leeds are not that far off rediscovering what went so well for them in August.

“We’re in the match and we know how competitive all games are,” the American said. “Other than Brentford, we have not conceded many.

“We’re more stable and better defensively and the biggest room for improvement is goalscoring.

“At the opponent’s end it’s turning chances into goals. Look at our expected goals at Palace – Bamford seven yards out, don’t get a shot off, that does not register in xG. That should be a 90 per cent goal. Getting our cleanliness and poise around the goal is key to reward us more.”

Marsch said he and assistant coach Rene Maric spoke with the Leeds attackers and defenders, respectively, in training earlier this week, where sharpness in front of goal was a key lesson.

And Marsch admitted that he has to “manage” Bamford, adding: “We have not done as well as I would have liked” with the 29-year-old’s recovery.

As for other injury issues, Leo Hjelde has “recovered well” from his appendectomy but faces another week out.

Archie Gray has been on the training pitches, with Stuart Dallas making “good progress” and available in December.

Marsch added that he needs to get Junior Firpo “fit and healthy” – and that this week’s three games should see him earn some minutes.

Whites need consistent performances

Leeds need to find out why their form has taken such a bad turn – and correct it right away.

They looked impressive in the early stages of the campaign, but are now seemingly in freefall.

Leeds had moments against Palace, especially in the early stages, but once the hosts got a foothold in the game, that was it for Marsch’s side.

And it does not get any easier this weekend, with high-flying Arsenal coming to Elland Road.

READ MORE: Leeds, Everton chasing one of 2023’s ‘most coveted free agents’, but lethal striker deal must run Euro gauntlet first