Leeds United look to be a bit in flux at the moment, with Samu Saiz reportedly unsettled and looking to a return to Spain. Does this mean, however, that the links to another Spanish star suddenly become more probable?
Leeds has been linked with Deportivo Alavés forward Ibai Gomez over the past few months, but nothing has come out about any links as of late, with Athletic Bilbao also reportedly interested in their former player. But what if return to Spain for Siaz means a trip north for Gomez?
Gomez played for current Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa at Athletic Club, and while his form dipped after Bielsa left, Gomez has been a key player for Alavés this season, who are currently fifth in the table after ending October in second place.
The interest from Leeds didn’t seem to make much sense at the time, as Leeds are pretty much two deep across the board at the winger, striker, and attacking midfielder positions. Besides Gjanni Alioski and Pablo Hernandez, the usual starters on the wing, the team has teenage Academy player Jack Clarke, Manchester City loanee Jack Harrison, Samu Saiz, Tyler Roberts, Patrick Bamford, and Kemar Roofe. Chelsea loanee Izzy Brown is also returning to fitness, meaning that there are pretty much two for every position.
Of course, with the reports that Saiz wants to leave, the interest in another forward makes sense. Mateusz Klich and Adam Forshaw have been in the midfield as of late, with Saiz being dropped to the bench, but moving Hernandez to the “enganche” role and bringing in someone with the quality of Gomez makes perfect sense.
Gomez’s contract runs out at the end of the season, and it’s believed that he doesn’t intend on signing a new one with Alaves, so it’s possible that Victor Orta, the Leeds Director of Football, who also hails from Spain, could be in talks to bring Gomez to Elland Road. While many of the recruits by Orta have not panned out, this season has seen a much better success rate, in large part because of the influence of Bielsa.
Will this shocking development lead to a move for Gomez? Or will he rejoin his former club, and help Athletic avoid relegation?