Marcelo Bielsa on the state of play in Leeds United's search for a new striker

The Whites are "working very hard to resolve" their options up front, says Marcelo Bielsa

Thursday, 16th January 2020, 1:22 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th January 2020, 1:23 pm
Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa. (Pic: Bruce Rollinson)

Marcelo Bielsa insists Leeds United are continuing to work hard to solve their absence of a second senior striker.

The Whites have made Southampton forward Che Adams one of their top targets this month, but have started to pursue other options with Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl said to be keen on keeping him on the south coast.

United are working to replace Eddie Nketiah in their first team squad, after Arsenal recalled the Gunners academy product to North London early from a season-long loan deal due to a lack of game time at Elland Road.

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Patrick Bamford remains Bielsa's only senior striking option, with the Argentine giving his thoughts on the state of play in LS11 ahead of the trip to Queens Park Rangers this weekend.

"The club is going to do all that is possible to resolve the situation," Bielsa said. "After the club has resolved this, we have to respect the rules and economy of the club.

"Not just the economy, but the limit that every club has to bring players. We are aware we have to replace two players. Victor Orta is working very hard to resolve this. The president supports the needs of the team, if we can resolve this it's better.

"If we cannot resolve it. It's not going to be because of a lack of effort.

"We cannot say the same is going to happen that did with [Daniel] James [last season] or that we didn't take advantage of [Eddie] Nketiah. None of these conclusions are true.

"What we have to do is describe how things are and accept that supporters and the press judge us how they think we have to be judged.

"Every time the team doesn't win. There is something around the club, a feeling of doubt and lack of confidence. We understand this. But we have to know if we deserve this or not.

"Also it is useful to analyse the argument that the supporters and press claim on the team. For things I am forced to analyse. To analyse you need argument."

Asked whether he had been offered any players this month by sporting director Victor Orta, he said: "Victor offers players and we say whether we want them or not.

"It never happened that I have to say no to one player.

"Victor knows what kind of player we are looking for and the characteristics of the team. There are a lot of things we consider. How many matches are left, how long it would take to adapt, if the player who comes is competing or not.

"We're going to try to find the right player. But we're not going to bring one player that doesn't fit with us just to say we bring someone in. Even if we lack one more attacker, we're not going to bring in anyone who doesn't fit.

"It's a difficult decision to take. The player who comes is going to be an option for Bamford. And the player who comes instead of [Jack] Clarke is going to compete with all our wingers as well.

"This happens in every team. We are not in condition to say to a player you are going to come and play for the rest of the season. We know perfectly that if one player isn't competing they need a process.

"Don't forget everyone used to critic Bamford until he got fit. That means supporters also value when a player is fit. Do you think a player who is doing well in his team is going to come to Leeds?

"Adams is one option. Whether he is playing regularly or not playing regularly, if he comes we need to adapt to some situations. For this reason I am a little disappointed for the situation with Nketiah and Arsenal.

"We have 19 matches left, three months of competition. You have to take into account the team we are. The matches we won are not because one player unbalanced the match. We build attacks."