Former Leeds United striker Noel Whelan has claimed that Wigan’s Joel Gelhardt would be better off staying with the Whites next season, if the club pull off a transfer move for the young striker.
Football Insider reported recently that personal terms had been agreed between the player and the club with the transfer to be completed imminently, with Wigan’s relegation causing a mass exodus.
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“I would like to keep him at the club,” Whelan said in an interview with Football Insider.
“It is important that he beds himself into this environment. He is at a new club with new surroundings and you need to get use to that as a player.
“He is young but that does not matter. We have seen it happen at Liverpool with Harvey Elliott. Sometimes it can benefit a youngster from being in and around the manager, players, staff and training ground rather than signing for a club and going straight out on loan.”
Gelhardt, who turned 18 in May, made 19 first-team appearances for the Latics last season, scoring once.
Following Wigan’s releagtion to the third-tier after going into administration, it is thought Leeds are willing to meet the striker’s £1million asking price this summer as they prepare for life back in the Premier League.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side were promoted as champions at the second time of asking, after missing out in the play-offs last time around, returning to the top-flight for the first time since 2004.
I think Whelan has a point and it would definitely be worth considering keeping Gelhardt at Elland Road next season if he signs.
However, it is also a bit simplistic to simply say because it worked for Harvey Elliott at Liverpool it will work for Leeds. Ultimately, Bielsa will know better than anybody else what will be best for the youngster.
If he decides that he needs to be loaned out, then he should be loaned out.