Sunderland manager Tony Mowbray has been quoted by The Northern Echo as saying he would like to re-sign Joe Gelhardt from Leeds in the summer – but is well aware Gelhardt’s future is in doubt with Leeds in a relegation battle.
Gelhardt, 20, has enjoyed a tricky loan at Sunderland – but it could end in delight. Joining Sunderland on loan from Leeds in January after the signing of Georgie Rutter, Gelhardt was brought in to play off of target man Ross Stewart.
But the Scotland star was injured just days after Gelhardt’s arrival, out for the rest of the season. It has meant that Gelhardt has had to lead the line for the Black Cats, scoring just three goals in 16. He has also laid on two assists.
Sunderland, though, sit in the play-off positions with two Championship matches to play. Gelhardt could still play an important part in his side’s season, with Premier League promotion a possibility. He might have five games to play.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s fixture against Watford at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland boss Mowbray was asked about Gelhardt. He stated he was open to his return from Leeds, but there are many factors to weigh up.
“If it was a possibility, it’s something. But there are a lot of things in the way. I assume he would want to go back to his parent club, wherever they’re going, and play. He doesn’t even know what league they’re going to be in.
“We all like him. For next year, that’s Leeds’ call and the player’s call, but I’ve enjoyed working with him because as we all see, there have been days when it hasn’t gone to plan for him, but he’s still worked and chased and fought.”
Sunderland manager Mowbray would like to re-sign Gelhardt from Leeds
So, what are the scenarios. Well, if Leeds stay up – Gelhardt will need another loan. Even if Leeds lose Rodrigo or decide to let Patrick Bamford go, or even loan out Rutter – the club are more than likely to bring in a new striker.
A return to Sunderland might be on the cards then, especially if Sunderland remain in the Championship. Promotion, and Sunderland may look to bring in a more proven no.9 in the top tier. If Leeds go down, a different story for him.
Indeed, Gelhardt would fancy his chances of rivalling Bamford to start. Rodrigo would certainly leave and Rutter again, might join him – perhaps, a loan to a European side. But, a big decision for the Leeds “wrecking ball”.