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Has Antenucci's form given Evans and Cellino a massive dilemma?

The 31-year-old Leeds striker has been in superb form over the last few weeks.

Mirco Antenucci's Leeds United contract is up at the end of the season and the Italian's Elland Road future was already the subject of question marks in January.

However, the striker's recent goalscoring exploits may have given Steve Evans and Massimo Cellino a massive dilemma. Does the forward deserve a new deal...?



When Antenucci turns it on, he can score as many goals as any Championship striker. The Italian has netted four times in his last three games and celebrated wildly with fans. That shows his ability and bond with supporters but, again, only when the forward turns it on...

Top Scorer

Despite playing less league minutes than Chris Wood, Antenucci is once again Leeds' top Championship scorer this season. In a team short of goals, the Italian is about to hit double figures for the second campaign running at Elland Road. Judging by those numbers, there simply isn't anyone who can score as frequently for the Whites as Antenucci.

Guarantees capable strike force if new forward isn't signed

Moving an out-of-contract player on always makes sense but, at the same time, keeping the 31-year-old will take the pressure off United's transfer window. If Antenucci stays, Leeds will have the Italian and Chris Wood able to play up top already, as well as Souleymane Doukara, who is better in support but can still deputise at centre-forward. If no marquee striker is signed, the Leeds squad will still have a capable strike force if Antenucci stays.



At 31, though, the Italian striker's age becomes a factor. Antenucci is experienced but, at the same time, he is approaching an age where fitness can start to become a concern. How many years do you extend a 31-year-old's contract for? One, two? Or is it better to let him go now before his form potentially tails off?


The emphasis on the Leeds striker's ability is really emphasis on his commitment. When Antenucci wants to be at his best, he can be unstoppable. But can he really keep that up all season? Does he really want to? The Italian's forte is playing up front but he is less effective out wide - meaning less game time, which in turn affects his desire.

Less wages for a new striker

It all comes down to finances as well, of course, and, if Leeds want to pursue a new striker next season, letting Antenucci go will free up more wages to fund that striker at the end of the day. If Cellino makes extra funds available to Evans, he may be able to both keep Antenucci and sign a new forward - but there are no guarantees and there must always be a balance between ins and outs.

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