Ibai Gomez has flopped since rejecting Leeds in January

Marcelo Bielsa the head coach

Championship play-off semi-finalists Leeds United made an offer to sign Ibai Gomez before he swapped Alaves for La Liga rivals Athletic Bilbao.

Ibai Gomez of Deportivo Alaves in action during the La Liga match between Deportivo Alaves and Athletic Club at Estadio de Mendizorroza on December 17, 2018 in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain.

Leeds United are potentially just 180 minutes away from returning to the Premier League. But they might have been promoted already had the club invested effectively during the January transfer window.

A lack of cutting edge has arguably cost the Whites a place in the automatic promotion positions, with Marcelo Bielsa’s side often looking toothless and predictable since Samu Saiz returned to Spain in the winter.

So, on paper at least, their failure to lure Ibai Gomez to Elland Road looked like a real missed opportunity.

 

A gifted left winger who worked with Bielsa at Athletic Bilbao, Ibai shone during an exceptional first half of the season, his ability to produce something out of nothing firing an unfancied Alaves side into Champions League contention.

And Bielsa apparently had his heart set on a reunion.

Speaking to Mundo Deportivo in January, Ibai admitted that he had received an offer from Leeds – before he decided to return to Athletic Bilbao instead.

Ibai Gomez of Athletic Club giving instructions during the La Liga match between Getafe CF and Athletic Club at Coliseum Alfonso Perez on April 07, 2019 in Getafe, Spain.

We’ll never know whether the 29-year-old could have fired Leeds into the top two. But what is certain is that, since making an emotional return to the San Mames, his form has dipped alarmingly.

Ibai has started just six of his 13 games for Athletic, producing two assists while failing to score a single goal. His lack of impact has been a major disappointment for a club who now look set to miss out on European qualification.

Maybe Ibai should have seized the chance to work with Bielsa again after all.

Ibai Gomez of Athletic Club gets injure and leaves the pitch during the La Liga match between Getafe CF and Athletic Club at Coliseum Alfonso Perez on April 07, 2019 in Getafe, Spain.

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