Leeds United have found their groove since being relegated from the Premier League as Daniel Farke’s tactical blueprint continues to propel them closer to the automatic promotion places.
With eight points currently separating them from their ultimate aim, the Whites have a lot of work to do in the second half of the season to achieve it and the January transfer window could play a pivotal role.
Although several names have been linked with a move to Elland Road, including Wimbledon striker Ali Al-Hamadi, speculation continues to surround Wilfried Gnonto’s future in Yorkshire.
The latest on Wilfried Gnonto’s future
Last month, TEAMtalk reported that Roma, Lazio, and Everton are all weighing up a possible swoop to sign the Italy international at the turn of the year, with a price tag of £25m placed on the Italian.
With only one goal and one assist to his name in ten Championship appearances this term, it remains to be seen whether his inconsistent returns in front of goal will put any potential buyers off in January.
If he does depart the club, Leeds could save millions by looking to their academy for a replacement, with 16-year-old sharpshooter Lewis Pirie making a strong case for a future first-team berth.
Lewis Pirie’s statistics in 23/24
Pirie was captured from Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen in the summer for a fee in the region of £200k.
The teenage sensation was highly thought of by the Dons and chief executive Alan Burrows revealed he did “everything we could” to keep hold of him.
He said: “We are obviously disappointed to be losing Lewis as he is one we had high hopes for, but at the same time we wish him all the best for the future.
“We did everything we possibly could to convince Lewis and his family to stay with Aberdeen, but he has decided to go to Leeds.”
Since arriving at Thorp Arch, Pirie has shown why he was held in such high regard north of the border, beginning life at his new home in exceptional fashion.
Despite relocating miles away from home, he’s took no time to settle in, scoring three goals and supplying one assist in five matches in the U18’s Premier League.
Such form isn’t out of the ordinary for a player who was labelled by his former manager Jim Goodwin as an “exciting prospect” and the early signs suggest he could reach the ceiling of his potential, although he has the unenviable task of dislodging the talismanic Georginio Rutter for a place in the senior team.
Georginio Rutter’s season in numbers
The French forward has been in phenomenal form for the Whites this term but has lacked that clinical edge in the final third to reward his efforts.
In 15 Championship appearances, Rutter has only found the back of the net three times, making up for those measly goalscoring numbers by showcasing his creative prowess.
Georginio Rutter’s creative statistics in 23/24
Big chances created
Key passes per game
Touches per game
All stats via Sofascore
Having created 15 big chances and supplied five assists term, as highlighted by the table above, the Leeds star has shown he’s able to consistently split open defences with his exceptional passing range, allowing the likes of Crysencio Summerville and Dan James to thrive on the wings.
Although it isn’t a major concern given how well he’s performing, if Rutter can find his goal-scoring touch to go alongside his invention, Farke will have an unstoppable force capable of firing the Whites to promotion in 2024.
In the long-term, however, the former Hoffenheim man could find his place in the side threatened by the emerging Pirie.