The Lowdown: First-team football is required
The Leeds ace broke onto the scene last season when Leeds were struggling for form with Patrick Bamford out injured for the majority of the season, as the youngster managed to net two goals and register four assists.
Gelhardt is still just 20, so he needs to be playing regular football to ensure he continues to develop, which is currently not happening as he finds himself behind players such as Rodrigo, Bamford and Wilfried Gnonto.
Jesse Marsch has appeared unwilling to hand Gelhardt meaningful minutes this season, with just 212 under his belt in the Premier League, so suggestions of him leaving for a Championship club should come as no surprise.
The Latest: Gelhardt set for midseason departure
Gelhardt is said to be closing in on a return to Wigan – who Leeds signed him from – with his desire obvious to play first-team football
Speaking on The Phil Hay Show, Hay said: “Wigan are favourites to get him, I think expect to get him now. Gelhardt seems keen to go back there. He obviously came from Wigan to Leeds in the first place, so very familiar with the club, knows a lot of people there; I think [he] would be comfortable in those surroundings.”
The Verdict: Leeds must put Gelhardt’s future first
You would imagine it would be quite a simple move to get done between Wigan and Leeds to send Gelhardt there for the rest of the season as he will be very comfortable going back there, while he could thrive under the pressure of having to fire them to safety.
Wigan currently find themselves marooned at the foot of the Championship table having scored just 27 league goals all season, so it’s no surprise if Kolo Toure is keen to add firepower to his ranks.
Gelhardt has already proven his ability and skill in flashes during his time at Leeds – especially against Brighton last season. Alan Shearer highlighted how much he ‘struggled’ in that game before being involved in the equalising goal, so while his end product could be sound, he may need to smooth out other parts of his all-round game, and a loan deal could well be just what he needs.
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