Georginio Rutter: Leeds United end drawn-out striker search with club record fee for Hoffenheim striker

Leeds United have completed the club record signing of Georginio Rutter.

The 20-year-old striker has signed a five-and-a-half-year contract after joining from Hoffenheim.

The fee has the potential to rise to £35m.

The signing ends a protracted search for a new centre-forward.

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SIGNING: Giorginio RutterSIGNING: Giorginio Rutter
SIGNING: Giorginio Rutter

Having not joined before the original game, Rutter is not eligible to face Cardiff City in Wednesday's FA Cup replay, but will be paraded in front of the Elland Road crowd before kick-off.

He is Leeds' second signing of the month after defender Max Wober.

The transfer has been trailed for some days now so Whites fans were starting to get nervous about it given the problems they had trying to bring in a centre-forward in the last window.

Leeds thought they were close to landing Cody Gakpo – who has since joined Liverpool – on September's deadline day and even closer to getting Bamba Dieng.

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Instead they had to bring forward the signing of teenage Italy international Willy Gnonto.

Gnonto is already proving an excellent addition but does his best work from wide areas and deeper.

Leeds have been light on cover and competition at centre-forward since the end of Eddie Nketiah's loan from Arsenal in January 2020.

He was replaced with Jean-Kevin Augustin on loan with an obligation to buy at the end of the season but the Frenchman failed to impress then-coach Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds tried to get out of the deal on a technicality based on the campaign finishing later than expected.

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After a long drawn-out saga through the courts, Leeds were forced to pay £23m for a player they sent back at the end of the season.

Spanish international Rodrigo was bought from Valencia for £27m and is Leeds' top-scorer this season with 11 goals in all competitions, but alternatives have been too scarce.

Patrick Bamford injured his ankle at Newcastle United in September 2021 and has struggled for a regular run of games since. His goal at Aston Villa on Friday was only his second in the intervening 16 months.

Despite that, youngster Joe Gelhardt has struggled for game-time and Leeds could now take up the offer of a loan to the Championship, with Swansea City and the Merseysider's former club Wigan Athletic both thought to be interested.

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Rutter is a French youth international and has earned 58 caps from Under-15 to Under-21 level. He played Champions League football for his first club, Rennes, before moving to Hoffenheim in February 2021.

He scored 11 goals in 64 appearances in Germany, with a further 11 assists.