Former Leeds United winger Gary McSheffrey has claimed that the West Yorkshire outfit’s failure to sign a player like Newcastle United’s Dwight Gayle in the summer remains the Elland Road natives’ Achilles heel, having been the key aspect which prevented the Whites from securing promotion last season.
Leeds have opened the campaign with 13 goals in nine second tier fixtures, while Patrick Bamford’s four in his first five games remains enough to see that the 26-year-old tops his side’s goal chart (WhoScored) ahead of Eddie Nketiah and Pablo Hernandez (two each).
The Whites have not been starved of chances to score more than they have so far managed, though, as Marcelo Bielsa’s men are leading the Championship for shots fashioned with 159, but have only seen 47 find the target – the most in the league, but also the most off-target with 71.
Gayle, meanwhile, is yet to feature for Newcastle since he returned to the North East at the end of his loan spell with West Bromwich Albion last term, as he sustained a calf injury during pre-season training and will not be fit until October (Football Insider).
However, the London-born forward struck 24 times in the Championship for the Baggies in his sole campaign at The Hawthorns on loan, with the 28-year-old also lashing 43 of his 95 shots on target while 30 missed the mark (WhoScored).
A move to sign Gayle permanently would have set Leeds back £20m (Northern Echo), but McSheffrey seemingly feels that would have been money well spent by the club for whom he played 11 games (TransferMarkt).
“For me, they need a Dwight Gayle type of player,” McSheffrey told EFL on Quest.
“That’s what didn’t get them over the line last season and it’s their Achilles’ heel this term as well.”
Leeds could certainly have benefited from having another proven goalscorer in Bielsa’s ranks this term, as their stats prove they are capable of creating chances to score, but are continually spurning the opportunities when presented with them.
At £20m, though, signing Gayle would have been a big commitment for the Championship side to make without any guarantees of securing promotion, having already signed an obligation to buy Helder Costa from Wolverhampton Wanderers in a deal approaching £15m next summer (Leeds Live).
That said, if they fail to go up as their current record continues, they will wish they spent the money needed come May, as their current strike rate cannot persist for much longer before concerns start to grow.
Leeds fans, should you have spent whatever was needed to land Gayle in the summer? Let us know in the comments below…Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more Leeds United notifications!