The tale of Eddie Nketiah is something that has the potential to rumble on all season at Elland Road.
Especially if the person they bring in during the January window, if anyone at all, doesn’t quite generate the same amount of love between them and the fans that the 20-year-old managed to get. But the way that Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa talks about it, you’d think that he did nothing wrong in Nketiah’s departure from the club.
Speaking in his press conference yesterday, Bielsa gave explained that he was left rather confused as to why the North London side would recall him, more or less claiming that it wasn’t Leeds United’s fault and that it was Arsenal who were taking the risk in sending him out on loan in the first place:
“I don’t know the reason for Arsenal to decide that Eddie doesn’t continue with us but if the reason is that he didn’t play enough, nobody can guarantee to one player the quantity of minutes he’s going to have. We never said (that Nketiah would be guaranteed minutes) and we would never say this. Nketiah was a brilliant option for us and now we’re looking for one which needs to be very good – the same or better than Nketiah.”
Whilst there is some merit to the argument, after all there are only eleven positions on a football pitch, and with there being more than eleven players in a squad, someone is going to have to be left out.
However, there is some blame that has to be placed on Bielsa and United’s shoulders.
When Patrick Bamford was going through his barren spell, a stretch in which Leeds United dropped points six times out of ten, that is the time when Nketiah should have been given more of a chance. He even got on the scoresheet a couple of times, against Barnsley and Preston North End, but that still wasn’t enough to convince Bielsa to give him a chance.
Will we live to regret not giving Nketiah more minutes
So if Eddie Nketiah does end up going to another Championship side and coming back to haunt us later in the season, it’s important to remember that we did play some part in it, regardless of what Bielsa will want you to believe.