Marcelo Bielsa on January replacement for Eddie Nketiah at Leeds United, head coach still in the dark over Arsenal decision

Arsenal's Eddie Nketiah departed Leeds United after the West Brom game (Pic: Getty)Arsenal's Eddie Nketiah departed Leeds United after the West Brom game (Pic: Getty)
Arsenal's Eddie Nketiah departed Leeds United after the West Brom game (Pic: Getty)
Marcelo Bielsa wants a striker as soon as possible and if he can play like Patrick Bamford, all the better.

But Leeds United’s head coach is willing to settle for the next best thing is put in front of him by director of football Victor Orta.

The Argentine admitted his ideal scenario was the speedy arrival of a frontman who could do the kind of things Bamford can do.

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He admitted, however, that the ideal scenario is not always possible.

“[We want] the same type of player, we need a striker as soon as possible and if we don’t find an ideal player, we are trying to find the best solution,” he said.

Bielsa would not be drawn on the club’s interest in Southampton striker Che Adams but did reiterate that he trusts the club to get someone in.

“I don’t like to make reference to hypothetical options,” he said, of Adams.

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“Bamford and Nketiah they have a lot of common points between them. When you look at those two players you can see what kind of player we expect to arrive.

“You have an ideal situations and possible situations, I think the club through Victor Orta and the President, they are ready to resolve this need. But we thought we had resolved this with

Nketiah, with all the effort the club made when he arrived. Ultimately it wasn’t a good decision because he decided to leave the club.”

Bielsa revealed he was still at a loss as to why Arsenal opted to remove Nketiah from Elland Road.

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The youngster was due to spend the season with Leeds but was recalled at the start of January, playing his last game against West Brom on New Year’s Day.

“In the case of Nketiah, I don’t know the reason that made Arsenal decide he wasn’t to continue with us,” said Bielsa.

“But if the reason is he didn’t play enough, no one can guarantee to a player the quantity of minutes he is going to have and no one can say to a player he is not going to have competition in the position.

“So we were satisfied to choose him because in two opportunities he removed Bamford as the starting player. His performances were very good.

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“The months he was with us, it is natural that when a player arrives he needs an adaptation time and when a player is outside the group because of injury, it is natural he needs more time to adapt again to the team dynamic.

“Arsenal and Eddie chose Leeds to prepare him to compete with a player like Bamford, our goalscorer. Two times he got what he was looking for. The opposite is if we had said to him that he was going to play anyway. But we didn’t say this and we never say this because we cannot fill this requirement. So always doing all the things with all the effort, what we all expected didn’t happen.”

Bielsa wants whoever comes in this month to be as good, if not better than Nketiah.

But any new signings will have to understand how things work under the head coach – there will be no guarantees and no one is going to walk straight into the starting XI.

“Nketiah was a brilliant option for us,” he said.

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“Now we are going to look for an option that is very good as well, the same or better than Nketiah.

“But it is necessary to know about the process time also.

“We are not going to choose a player that justifies us in front of the public, but does not make us strong as a team.”