The Sun’s transfer expert Alan Nixon has reported on his Patreon channel that it is Sunderland and Blackburn Rovers that are fighting it out to sign Leeds United striker Joe Gelhardt on loan before the end of the January transfer window.

Gelhardt, 20, has clocked up 19 appearances for Leeds in both League and Cup this season. But only four of those have been from the start. The England U21 star has failed to score, clocking up just two goals in his 41 senior Leeds games.

But he has laid on seven assists. Moments of magic came from the boots of Gelhardt last season. His assist against Brighton for Pascal Struijk, winning the penalty against Wolves – and his glorious tap in to beat Norwich City 2-1.

Rodrigo is in electric form, netting 12 goals this season. Patrick Bamford is fit again, scoring three goals in his three appearances since proving his fitness. Leeds have spent a club-record fee to sign Georginio Rutter from Hoffenheim.

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So, Gelhardt is expected to go on loan. The Leeds ace has five Championship clubs interest in his services. Wigan, Coventry and Swansea are keen. But Leeds want a decent portion towards his wages. Blackburn have the best chance.

But Blackburn are facing stiff competition from Sunderland in the race to get Gelhardt. It could be down to whether which club can give Leeds assurances that Gelhardt will start games – and of course, who is willing to pay most wages.

Nixon: Sunderland and Blackburn fighting to sign Leeds striker Gelhardt

A move to Blackburn or Sunderland would see Gelhardt join a club fighting to finish in the Championship play-offs. Blackburn are fourth, on 43 points. Sunderland are ninth, but are only two points behind Jon Dahl Tomasson’s side.

Blackburn would see him join a side that boast plenty of creativity in the form of two former Leeds targets. Bradley Dack and Ben Brereton-Diaz. Sunderland have Ross Stewart and that may see Gelhardt struggle to start.

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