Bielsa decision questioned as worries raised over Leeds forward depth

Date published: Saturday 16th January 2021 9:09 - Sam Charlton

Marcelo Bielsa Leeds TEAMtalk

Pundit Noel Whelan has called out Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa on his view that Jack Harrison can be used a centre forward.

Bielsa claimed in his pre-Brighton press conference that he considers Harrison an option for the striker position.

It comes after the former on-loan Manchester City man played part of the defeat to Crawley Town up front.

It was the first time he has played there this season, with Harrison usually playing in a wide position. All 16 of his Premier League appearances have been on either the left or right flank.

But although Bielsa was not suggesting that Harrison leading the line was to become a regular thing, Whelan still took umbrage with his comments.

Speaking to Football Insider, he said: “Look, he’s not a striker, simple as that.

“You sometimes can’t put square pegs in round holes and that’s exactly what we’re saying here. That just tells you that we’ve got no strength in depth in that centre-forward position, in my opinion.”

Harrison has three goals and four assists so far this year, all of them coming in the league.

 

He will have the chance to add to that when his side welcome Brighton to Elland Road on Saturday afternoon.

Recruitment required at Leeds

Whelan went on to reiterate his belief that the Whites should move to strengthen their attacking options.

The form of Patrick Bamford has been a pleasant surprise this campaign, the 27-year-old has scored 10 league goals already, but back-up to him is limited.

Tyler Roberts is one alternative, as is summer signing Rodrigo. However the Spanish international has predominantly played as an attacking midfielder this term.

But Whelan argues that a player more similar to Bamford should be brought in.

“I’ve been crying out for the past two seasons that we need more strength in depth,” he added.

Tyler Roberts, to me, is not a centre forward either so that says to me that we’re grasping at that position and we’re trying to fill a space with somebody that’s not that player.

“If you look at the way they’ve been playing, you’ve got a focal figure in Bamford. There’s nobody like-for-like.

Patrick Bamford, Vicente Guaita

“If that’s the way he wants to play, then he needs to go into the market and bring in players that can adapt and play that role just like Patrick because if he gets injured, I’m really worried about that centre-forward position because we don’t have another centre-forward, it’s as simple as that.”

Reports claim Leeds are looking at a number of strikers in the January transfer window. One of those is Celtic’s Odsonne Edouard, who could be allowed to leave the reigning Scottish champions.

M’Bala Nzola is another who is reportedly on their shortlist. The Frenchman has hit nine goals in 13 games in 2020/21 for Spezia in Serie A. That said, a deal for a forward is not close at this stage.

READ MORE: A Championship goalkeeper admits he is “honoured” to be linked with the likes of Leeds.

 

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