'One of the best strikers English football has' - Leeds United secure Patrick Bamford's future to end Spurs speculation
Leeds United have agreed a new five-year deal with striker Patrick Bamford - one of the best strikers in English football according to Marcelo Bielsa.
Hours after the Whites head coach was quizzed about the 27-year-old's future and suggestions of interest from Tottenham Hotspur, the club confirmed their number nine has put pen to paper to remain at Elland Road until the summer of 2026.
"Bamford is a very important player for us and one of the best strikers that English football has," Bielsa said on Thursday morning when asked about the forward's significance.
Last season he fired in 17 goals in 38 Premier League games and put himself in the England Euro 2020 conversation. Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate admitted the Leeds man could consider himself unfortunate to miss out on a call up last season.
Bamford, who spoke of his prevailing international dream earlier this summer, gave the club every indication that he saw his future at Elland Road and although negotiations over the new deal have been going on for months, sources at Leeds say they were never concerned.
Under Bielsa he has become the first choice striker, playing a lone striker role that demands huge physical effort and defensive nous as well as clever movement and finishing. Last season, given his first real opportunity in the top flight, Bamford showed he could do it all.
He wants to do better this season.
"I'm really demanding," he said.
"If I push to achieve something and I haven't done it then I put more onus on myself to get there next time. Next time hopefully for me, I want to try and get to the World Cup. This was my big thing this year. I've got to do what I can to try and replicate the season, in fact improve it because for me there needs to be that constant progression. What I did last year was obviously very good but I've got to build on it and improve. I want to do better."
Leeds have provided a home for him in football, after a transient start to his career following a teenage move from Nottingham Forest to Chelsea.
"The only club I've been at longer was Chelsea but I was always on loan and stuff there," he said.
"I think this time round is probably the most settled I've been. I love living in the area, I love the club, it's like a family in football. I can't speak highly enough of how everything has gone. It couldn't have gone any better. I had a little bit of a sticky start with the injury and stuff but since then it's all been uphill."
Bamford is the latest of Bielsa's first team squad members to sign a new deal, following Tyler Roberts, Stuart Dallas and Illan Meslier who all extended their Elland Road stays this summer.