Marcelo Bielsa says Leeds United need a new striker quickly but he will only sign someone who can do the same job as Patrick Bamford, not a player to appease supporters.
To the bemusement of the Whites’ head coach, Arsenal have decided to recall Eddie Nketiah midway through what was due to be a season-long loan. It leaves Bamford as Leeds’ only senior centre forward.
While Bielsa wants a replacement who can hold the ball up and bring others into play as Bamford does, he might have to compromise if he cannot get “the ideal player” quickly.
The Argentinian is looking for “the same type of player as soon as possible,” adding: “If we find the ideal player, great, if we don’t, we will try to find the best solution.”
Leeds have been linked with Southampton’s Che Adams and Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp amongst others. Bielsa was unwilling to name names, but happy to talk about the qualities required.
“Bamford and Nketiah have a lot of common points (so we want) players with those characteristics,” he explained.
When players arrive they need time to adapt. We didn’t say he was going to play regardless because we cannot.Marcelo Bielsa
“You have an ideal situation and possible situations.
“We thought we had resolved this with Nketiah.”
Bielsa is clearly unhappy at Arsenal’s decision, seemingly taken largely because of the amount of football Nketiah played at Elland Road. He made only two Championship starts, though it would have been more had he not picked up an abdominal injury in late October.
“If the reason is he didn’t play enough, nobody can guarantee a player minutes and say to a player he is not going to have competition,” argued Bielsa.
“When players arrive they need time to adapt. We didn’t say he was going to play regardless because we cannot.
“Nketiah was a brilliant option for us. Now we are going to look for an option that is the same or better.
“We are not going to choose a player that justifies us in front of the public but doesn’t make us strong as a team.”