Leeds Director of Football Victor Orta put a price on youth being the answer with United’s Deadline Day agreement to take Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah on loan.
According to Football Insider, the one-season deal struck with the North London club saw the Whites agree to pay more than £2million as a loan fee, along with taking on the youngster’s lucrative Gunners contract in its entirety.
It is alleged the 20-year-old, who has started three of his 19 appearances for the Emirates Stadium natives, earns £35,000-a-week, which now makes him one of our best-paid players alongside Kiko Casilla and Patrick Bamford.
The number quoted is also a figure Kemar Roofe had planned to request in negotiations over renewing his contract, as he sought to see his efforts from last season rewarded with a pay rise. But the board sold the Walsall-born striker to RSC Anderlecht in the end, and earnt a fee in the region of €7million (£6.4m).
Nketiah has the potential to be a big game player under Marcelo Bielsa, and an exciting addition to our squad, but the £3million-plus agreement puts an awful lot of pressure on the London-born forward, as Roofe was the proven thing.
Uncapped Jamaica international Roofe made 33 appearances for the Whites last season in the Championship, including the Play-Off Semi-Final First-Leg, and lined up as our centre-forward in 30 of those. In return for the boss’ backing, he scored 15 games, to record a strike rate of one successful shot hitting the back of the net every 150.4 minutes.
The 26-year-old arrived in West Yorkshire from Oxford United in 2016 as a relatively unknown talent, and took a while to get going at Elland Road before becoming a forward who proved to be our top goalscorer.
Now, that burden falls to Patrick Bamford, but if the former Middlesbrough star develops an injury or runs out of steam down the final stretch of the season, Nketiah will have to step up and make sure the agreement reached with Arsenal was not a waste of half the fee received from Roofe’s departure.
The Arsenal product has the potential to thrive under Bielsa, but Orta cannot afford to see the potential boil under the surface for too long.