The success of Kemar Roofe at centre-forward this season has forced Patrick Bamford to settle for a place on the bench so far, but Caleb Ekuban is yet to even earn a place in Marcelo Bielsa’s match-day squad.
The 24-year-old striker has struggled to settle since he arrived at Elland Road last summer in a deal worth £504k, as he managed to find the back of the net on just 2 occasions from 21 appearances for the club on his debut season.
In truth, it was always a risk for Leeds to sign Ekuban at the end of a season in which he managed to score 17 goals from 34 in Albania’s Kategoria Superiore.
Clearly, the step up from top-flight Albanian football to Championship football was a step too far for Ekuban, but a recent report from Panorama Sport (via Birmingham Live) suggests that he will have the opportunity to return to Albania this month.
The report claims that Flamurtari Vlore have tabled a loan bid for Ekuban and the Leeds striker is closing in on a summer switch.
Considering he enjoyed plenty of success in Albania’s top-flight during the 2016/17 season, the proposed deal makes perfect sense for Ekuban who will have an ideal opportunity to rebuild his confidence in Eastern Europe.
Ekuban’s failure to hit the ground running in the Championship should serve to remind Leeds that taking risks on players who have proven themselves whilst playing at a significantly lower standard should largely be ignored, as he has become a terrible value for money signing with each goal currently worth £252k.
It’s unlikely that another season in Albania will bring Ekuban up to Championship standard, but the least Leeds can expect is to make their money back if he is able to rediscover the goal-scoring form which convinced the Whites to sign him last summer.
Considering the move gives Ekuban the chance to resurrect his career and Leeds the chance to command a higher transfer fee for his services, there’s no doubt that the reported loan switch is ideal for all parties concerned.
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