Noel Whelan offers his opinion on whether Leeds should keep Mirco Antenucci

Mirco Antenucci

Noel Whelan isn't so sure Mirco Antenucci is the long-term solution for Leeds United.

Pundit Noel Whelan has told BBC Radio Leeds that he thinks Leeds need to bring in a striker this summer, rather than extend Mirco Antenucci's contract.

The Whites claimed a third successive victory on Saturday afternoon, beating Blackburn Rovers 2-1 at Ewood Park thanks to goals from Sol Bamba and striker Antenucci.

A summer 2014 signing from Ternana in his native Italy, Antenucci hit ten goals for Leeds last season, but had been relegated to more of a backup role to Chris Wood under Uwe Rosler.

This term, the 31-year-old has now hit nine goals, scoring four goals in his last three games, as Antenucci has become a key part of Steve Evans' side in recent weeks.

However, confusion surrounds his future at Elland Road. Antenucci is out of contract this summer, meaning he can leave the club on a free transfer if Leeds don't manage to tie him down to a new deal.

Many fans want Antenucci to be rewarded for his great recent form with a new contract, but so far there has been no indication that an offer from Leeds is on the table ahead of the summer transfer window.

Now, Leeds-born former Whites striker Noel Whelan, currently working as a pundit for BBC Radio Leeds, has been asked whether Antenucci deserves a new deal, as aired following the 2-1 win over Blackburn on Saturday afternoon.

Whelan suggested that Leeds need to sign a long-term solution up front this summer rather than rely on the 31-year-old Antenucci, but he did acknowledge that Antenucci is a 'game changer'. Ultimately, the pundit stated that he isn't sure whether Antenucci is consistent enough in front of goal to take Leeds to the Premier League, suggesting that he thinks Leeds should look elsewhere this summer.

"I'm still going to stick with the fact that, long term, we should be looking for a striker," said Whelan. "But there's no question that this boy, on his day, is a game changer - I've always said that. He's got something that our strikers don't have. He's got something different to Doukara, he's got that special moment in him.

"He's on a good run right now, but over the course of the whole season, is he going to be the difference to get us up to the Premier League? I'm not so sure. But there's no doubt that, right now, he's on a good run of form and banging the goals in, but that's to be discussed by the chairman, the player and the manager," he added.

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