Leeds United admire Wigan Athletic youngster Joe Gelhardt but face top Premier League opposition

Leeds United are keen admirers of Wigan Athletic youngster Joe Gelhardt but face top Premier League opposition for his signature.

By Graham Smyth
Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 5:45 am

The Liverpool-born forward, just 18, is on the radar of a number of top flight clubs which means that even with promotion secured, it would not be an easy deal to land.

The YEP understands he's not the only promising young player Leeds have looked at but were they to pull it off, his signing would be seen as a real coup at Elland Road.

Wigan are currently in the hands of administrators Begbies Traynor, including former Leeds chairman Gerald Krasner.

He revealed last week that several Premier League clubs have made offers for Latics players, thought to include Gelhardt, Alfie Devine and Jensen Weir but none of those deals had been considered acceptable. This week Wigan accepted an offer from QPR for striker Kieffer Moore.

“We have agents working on deals day and night,” Krasner told YEP sister paper the Wigan Observer.“And I can say I’ve turned down more deals than it looks like we’re going to accept – because the offers were too low. But whatever price I sell a player at, I can guarantee somebody will always say we could have got more. Well why didn’t they get more and come to me with it? What people don’t understand is if I don’t get that money in by this week, or next week, there won’t be a football club.

“If we don’t sort out this short-term problem there is no long-term."

The list of clubs being linked with Gelhardt is extensive, with Liverpool, Everton, Tottenham and Celtic among those thought to have shown interest.

PROSPECT - Wigan Athletic's Joe Gelhardt has attracted the attention of Leeds United and a host of Premier League clubs. Pic: Getty

Gelhardt has made two starts for Paul Cook's first team in the Championship, but came off the bench in 15 other league games and scored his first senior goal against Hull City earlier this season.

Wigan insiders have made comparisons with Wayne Rooney, due to the attacker's height, build and strength but Cook has been keen to protect the left-footed youngster, to the point of facing criticism for not giving him more game time.

Gelhardt forward joined the Latics as a 10-year-old and made his professional debut in August 2018, before penning his first professional contract in the same month.

At international level Gelhardt has earned England caps for the Under 16s, 17s and 18s.