Leeds United will not be making any late window signings to serve as midfield cover for Adam Forshaw, according to The Athletic’s Phil Hay.
The 28-year-old missed two of United’s Championship fixtures in September through a hip injury, which also ensured he could not train with Marcelo Bielsa and the first-team over the international break.
Bielsa reintroduced Forshaw to the matchday squad and called on him to feature in the second-half of our 1-0 defeat at Charlton Athletic later that month, though the boss has been without the Liverpool-born central midfielder since our visit to the Valley.
Speaking in October, Bielsa noted that Forshaw’s hip issue was a challenging injury to heal, and could not offer a timeframe on the Everton product’s rehabilitation as a result of the uncertainty surrounding his problem.
Forshaw spent a spell in December training alone at Thorp Arch as he strived to make his return to the first-team fold, having been a mainstay of Bielsa’s plans over the opening weeks of the campaign.
Bielsa was able to offer a somewhat positive update on Forshaw’s state earlier this month, noting ahead of our FA Cup trip to Arsenal that the £4.5million-rated man was making good progress and was set to train on grass the following week.
The wait in West Yorkshire to see Forshaw back in action has continued to roll on, though, with United now having played 19 Championship matches since he last took to the field.
But Bielsa and Director of Football Victor Orta will not be making any late window moves to land a replacement for Forshaw, and the boss will instead continue on with a midfield group of Kalvin Phillips, Mateusz Klich, Jamie Shackleton and Pablo Hernandez, along with versatile options like Tyler Roberts, Stuart Dallas and Ezgjan Alioski, until the former Middlesbrough man returns.
Do we need to sign a midfielder this week?
Leeds not making any signings to serve as Forshaw’s replacement would suggest the club are hopeful that the 28-year-old is nearing a return, which should come as a welcome relief for Bielsa.
Forshaw was a key part of the boss’ plans over the opening six games of the campaign, with the 5 ft 8 man playing the full 90 minutes of each match before suffering his initial hip injury.
His average stats in the Championship per 90 minutes over those outings also showed what we have missed without Forshaw on the pitch, with the Everton product still ranking third for accurate long balls (3.5) among the eight players to have featured in a central midfield role this term. Forshaw also ranks first for accurate short passes (47.7), second for aerial duels won (1.3), third for successful dribbles (1.0) and fourth for tackles attempted (3.5), per WhoScored data.
In other Leeds United news, a prominent pundit has urged Bielsa to axe a first-team mainstay to avoid the £10m man growing complacent.