Leeds United are reported to be drawing up a list of prospective replacements for Eddie Nketiah after it was claimed Arsenal will recall the striker in the January transfer window.
The clamour to start the on-loan England Under-21 striker reached fever pitch earlier this month, but an untimely abdomen injury has denied him that chance, leaving Patrick Bamford’s status as a starter untouched, for the time being at least.
It means the Arsenal star is yet to start in the Championship for Marcelo Bielsa’s side, and with the January window just 36 days away, a report on Football Insider claims the striker will be recalled by the Gunners due to a failure to complete a certain number of minutes for the Whites. It’s likely the Premier League side would then send the player out elsewhere to continue his development.
As per the report, Leeds are preparing for the likelihood of Nketiah returning to Emirates Stadium at the first possible opportunity in news that would come as a serious blow for Bielsa’s side.
As such, it claims Nketiah will only be available to the Yorkshiremen until the December 29 trip to St Andrew’s to face Birmingham City.
And with just Patrick Bamford available as a senior central striking option for Bielsa, it’s suggested Leeds are already drawing up a list of potential targets to come into the club in January as potential replacements.
Bielsa himself gave an insight into Leeds’ potential January dealings during his press conference to preview the clash with Reading when he left open the possibility of new recruits coming in.
“If we have any needs, I am sure that Victor [Orta] and his group is in good condition to bring solution to us,” Bielsa said. “It always has been like that since we are working here.”
Nketiah remains sidelined for Tuesday’s trip to Reading, but is slated in to return to first-team training again by Thursday and could come into contention for Saturday’s clash against Middlesbrough at Elland Road.
The player even posted something on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon indicating his imminent return.
— Eddie Nketiah (@EddieNketiah9) November 26, 2019
One player who could emerge as a potential target is Liverpool striker Rhian Brewster, who could be allowed to leave Anfield in January, with Leeds already touted by the papers as a potential suitor.
The loss of Nketiah, however, would come as a blow to Leeds, with the striker having looked sharp in front of goal and having registered five goals in 12 appearances – 10 of which have come off the bench – for United.
Fellow promotion hopefuls Bristol City rivalled Leeds for Nketiah’s signature in January and they would likely be back in the running to land the goal-grabber were Arsenal to activate their recall clause.