According to a recent report from The Daily Mirror, Leeds United look set to opt against making a move for Tom Heaton in January. The Englishman is currently playing his football at Premier League side Burnley and has done so since leaving Cardiff City back in 2013, although a lack of regular football under Sean Dyche recently has plunged his future at Turf Moor into doubt.
And Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds have been linked with a move for the £3.6 million-rated Premier League outcast (as per Transfermarkt), only for reports to suggest that the Whites won’t seek a deal for the 32-year-old come the New Year.
But given just how much the Yorkshire giants are in need of goalkeeping reinforcements, alongside just how excellent a goalkeeper Heaton is, opting against a January move for the England international could cost Leeds promotion to the Premier League.
Ultimately, Bielsa’s men have enjoyed an outstanding first half of the season to sit second in the Championship table after 20 matches, with a return to the top-flight for the first time since 2004 very much a possibility heading into 2019.
However, injury problems have crippled the club in recent times, and that has been none-more-so evident than in the goalkeeping ranks given Jamal Blackman has returned to parent club Chelsea to treat a serious leg injury, leaving Bailey Peacock-Farrell as the only senior shot-stopper at Elland Road.
And while the young Northern Ireland international has proven his worth at times this season, not least in saving a late penalty to secure a 1-0 win for Leeds over Reading last week, there have been some uncertain moments as well to call into question his suitability over the course of the long, hard slog that is a Championship campaign.
Thus, it seems pretty clear that Leeds are in need of goalkeeping reinforcements, not only to bulk out the squad ahead of the second half of the season, but also to provide genuine competition to Peacock-Farrell to thus keep him on his toes – Heaton’s arrival would tick both boxes.
The 32-year-old may have struggled for football following a shoulder injury back in September 2017, but prior to that he was arguably one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League following a string of excellent displays to help keep Burnley in the top-flight in the 2016/17 season.
In fact, Heaton was well on his way to making the World Cup squad with England were it not for that shoulder injury last year, which has since paved the way for Nick Pope and now Joe Hart to take his place in Dyche’s starting line-up – as such, his future appears to be away from Turf Moor.
And it seems pretty obvious that he’d be an ideal addition to Bielsa’s Leeds squad – yes, he may not be hugely accomplished with the ball at his feet, which is reportedly a reason why Leeds aren’t going after him, but he has proven to be a match-winner in the past, and as such could save the Whites several points in the second half of the campaign.
As such, opting against a move for Heaton, despite their dire need for goalkeeping reinforcements, could prove to be something of a blunder from manager Bielsa – in fact, it could well cost Leeds promotion to the Premier League.
Leeds fans… what do you think? Let us know!