Leeds United have been linked with a number of strikers since the departure of Chris Wood for the Premier League and Burnley last August. Despite the striker leaving for substantial fee, a replacement was not found last year, and the January striker acquisition, Tyler Roberts from West Bromwich Albion, failed to make an appearance in a Leeds shirt after being injured after completing his transfer.
One link that has continued to come up over and over again is the possibility of Leeds bringing in former Preston North End striker Jordan Hugill. He was linked last summer and again last January, but the striker ended up in East London with West Ham United in a reported £10 million deal, a price that Leeds was unwilling to match.
Leeds were keen on him last summer but didn’t want to pay Preston’s asking price. Wouldn’t rule that one out.— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) July 8, 2018
he’s at West Ham and seemingly available on loan— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) July 8, 2018
However, Hugill’s time in East London has been less than pleasant with the striker only managing to make the pitch in three matches for West Ham, and only played a total of 22 minutes for the Hammers. It’s now rumoured that Hugill will be made available for loan by West Ham, and Leeds are reported to be interested in bringing him in.
Hugill has a decent, if not spectacular, goal scoring record and has been effective in the Championship, scoring 23 goals in 100 appearances in the division. He’ll not blow by any defenders with his pace, but he’s a classic target man.
Bielsa has utilized a target man in the past at both Athletic Bilbao, where he had Fernando Llorente, and at Marseille, where he used André-Pierre Gignac in a similar role. Neither Gignac nor Llorente could be described as “pacy,” but they’ve been very effective in Bielsa’s attacking formation.
Leeds suffered from a lack of a consistent aerial threat last season, with Pierre-Michel Lasogga, despite his height, often being unable to get into the box to score with his head on a routine basis. And while Kemar Roofe scored a few headed goals, he’s never going to be able to consistently win headers in the box.
So could Leeds provide a lifeline to Hugill? He could certainly work as a lone striker in the Championship and with two wingers and an attacking midfielder all playing off of him, a big body such as Hugill could create havoc for opposing defences. A loan deal wouldn’t be ideal for Leeds, but it would still allow room in the transfer budget to acquire a few other players. Such as a central defender. Or two.