Leeds scored 50 goals last season. 50. As in seventh fewest in the league. That included teams like Huddersfield scoring more goals than we did. Slightly depressing reading. With Mirco Antenucci leaving the club, Chris Wood getting injured/losing form and not replacing Ross McCormack, Leeds United are in desperate need of a striker.
Meet Manchester United's Ashley Fletcher.
Fletcher scored nine goals in 27 games for Barnsley last season including in both the Play-Off Final and semi-final. His linkup play with Lloyd Isgrove (another player who would be suited to Garry Monk’s revolution) and Sam Winnall was a joy to behold at times. You stick him alongside Chris Wood and you have a strike partnership that can score 40-50 goals a season in the Championship.
His movement off the ball and his running in behind is something that Leeds haven’t seen since the days of Beckford. Wood and Fletcher would be the Championship version of Beckford and Becchio. Wood has the ability and the strength to win the ball, hold it up and play Fletcher in who, with the finishing ability that he has, will score 20+ goals a season. And with Wood scoring between 15 and 20 a season alongside him they can put Leeds back in the top six.
One of Fletcher’s biggest strengths is his pace. Again our last pacy striker was Beckford and since he left we’ve been missing a similar type of striker. The kid is 20 years old and has a lot to prove. After the way Marcus Rashford burst onto the scene for Manchester United, Fletcher will want to do the same and if he does join Leeds, he’ll want to prove Rashford isn’t the only young English striker to be aware of.
The style of football that Garry Monk plays will suit Fletcher down to the ground. Playing in League 1, where it’s a lot of "hoof and let’s see what happens" (or the Irish technique), can be awkward for a player who likes the ball to feet or slid in behind so he can run onto it the way Fletcher can. With Monk, the ball will be on the ground and actually go through the midfield. Such wonders. You start playing the ball low to a guy who can burn people on the run... You’re talking goals galore baby.
Fletcher would play just off Wood either as a second striker or a centre forward that drops a little deeper. Play the ball to feet and he’s able to turn and take a man on. Play the ball long to Wood and he can play it in behind for Fletcher to run onto and finish. Having a striker who can run at players, has the pace to beat them and can finish it changes everything about the way Leeds can play. See the clip below.
Garry Monk has a mammoth task ahead of him trying to get Leeds back to the big time, especially while that nutbag Cellino is around, but if he can get a strike partnership that scores on a regular basis it goes a long way to going up. Ashley Fletcher and Chris Wood can be exactly what Leeds need.
Now for the small matter of signing him.