Five free agent forwards Leeds United could target this summer to add depth up front

One of Leeds United's biggest challenges this season has been effectively coping with the absence of Patrick Bamford.

The Whites striker has been restricted to nine league appearances this term as he has been forced to battle a number of injury problems.

He has two goals and two assists in those nine games while last season he played a part in every Premier League fixture, scoring 17 goals and providing eight assists.

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Leeds have scored the most goals of all the sides in the bottom five but a more effective back-up to Bamford, or another forward known for scoring goals, could have kept them away from the relegation battle.

Here we look at five soon-to-be free agents Leeds could target this summer - if they survive - to add more goals.

Eddie Nketiah

Out of contract at Arsenal, Nketiah already has an affiliation with Leeds having spent the first half of the 2019-20 campaign at Elland Road.

The Gunners are keen to keep the forward who has seven goals in 22 games across all competitions this season. He has shown flashes of his goal-scoring ability but has yet to establish himself as a regular at the Emirates Stadium.

OUT OF CONTRACT: Eddie Nketiah is poised to leave Arsenal on a free transfer this summer. Picture: Getty Images.

Jesse Lingard

The Manchester United midfielder would not be a direct back-up to Bamford but has certainly shown his ability to score goals in the Premier League. He is set to leave Old Trafford after a difficult season.

He aimed to leave the club in January but a move was blocked. During the second half of last season he scored nine goals and claimed four assists in a 16-game loan spell at West Ham United.

Ben Brereton Diaz

RIVAL SWITCH: Could Jesse Lingard make the move from Manchester United to Leeds United when his contract ends at Old Trafford. Picture: Getty Images.

As it stands, the Chile international is out of contract at Blackburn Rovers this summer but the club do have the option to extend his deal another 12 months.

He has scored 21 goals in 36 Championship games this campaign, as well as providing three assists. He spent time out injured in February and March, which coincided with a dip in form for Rovers.

New Leeds boss Jesse Marsch has spoken about wanting more versatile players in his system and Diaz can play on left of a front three as well as through the middle.

Danny Welbeck

PROVEN GOALSCORER: Ben Brereton Diaz is out of contract at Blackburn this summer but the club could trigger a 12-month extension. Picture: Getty Images.

The former Manchester United and Arsenal player is in the final weeks of his contract at Brighton. He has four goals and two assists in 22 appearances this season.

He is a proven Premier League player, having made 270 appearances in the competition with 54 goals and 22 assists to his name.

Mattia Destro

The Genoa striker has nine goals and one assist in 25 Serie A games this term. He is another player who could provide versatility across the front three for Marsch, but is predominantly a centre forward.

He has spent his entire career in the Italian top flight, with Bologna and AS Roma among his previous clubs. He has 90 goals and 19 assists in 285 Serie A games - might he be tempted by a move to the Premier League if Leeds stay up?