Leeds did some excellent work in the summer window. Surprising many, they smashed their club-record transfer fee by bringing in Rodrigo from Valencia and many expected the Spain international to replace Patrick Bamford up front – but Bamford’s seven goals in nine games has seen Rodrigo drop into attacking midfield.
Leeds are at their strongest with Bamford up front and Rodrigo following up behind him – but that means that their next best striker to come off the bench is Tyler Roberts. The Wales international is still only 21, and perhaps the Whites could do with another striker to bolster Marcelo Bielsa’s options in the final third – as the January window approaches.
On Sunday, Roberts remained an unused substitute after making cameo appearances during the 4-1 defeats to Leicester and Crystal Palace. That is, even with Leeds pushing for a winner against a 10-man side that looked as if they were relying on luck to hold out against the overpowering Whites. But Bielsa felt he had better options than Roberts.
Like Roberts, Eddie Nketiah remained an unused substitute for Arsenal with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang being used up front. The former Leeds loanee has started just one of nine Premier League matches this season and with Gabriel Martinelli returning from injury, he may find that he will be struggling even more for game time. Roberts sent him a message on Instagram.
Nketiah will surely be considering a loan move in January. Potentially behind Martinelli when the Brazilian is fully fit, he is also considered below Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette in the Arsenal pecking order – with Mikel Arteta perservering with just one up front. He needs a move before his career continues to stagnate.
Why not return to Leeds? He enjoyed a decent spell on loan at Elland Road last season before Arsenal decided to cut such a spell short – scoring five goals in 19 appearances, only four of which came from the start. But with Rodrigo playing in midfield, Nketiah would join Roberts at Elland Road as competition for Bamford – and like last season, it would be very interesting to see who starts up front when both are firing.
It would give Leeds crucial competition in a place where they need it. Nketiah knows the Bielsa blueprint, has a good connection with the Leeds squad as confirmed by Roberts’ Instagram and probably needs a move himself. Surely it is ideal for all parties involved to join Leeds on loan until the end of the season?