Going into a new Premier League season with just one senior centre-forward obviously carries a sizeable degree of risk. Especially when that aforementioned centre-forward was restricted to just seven starts in the previous, injury-ruined campaign. 

The good news is that Patrick Bamford may return for Leeds’ Elland Road clash with Aston Villa after the September international break. The bad? Well, after missing countless games since the beginning of 2021/22 – including two already this term – resting your survival hopes upon Bamford’s shoulders feels like building your house on sand. 

For all of Joe Gelhardt’s qualities – he is one of the most exciting young forwards in English football – the 20-year-old still has a lot to learn. Ditto summer signing Wilfried Gnonto. And with Rodrigo Moreno out with a shoulder problem, and Dan James departing for Fulham, Jesse Marsch is only a knock or a niggle away from another selection migraine in the final third. 

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

Leeds United need support for Patrick Bamford

Now, it’s not as if Leeds haven’t tried to ease the pressure on Bamford. Arnaud Kalimuendo chose Rennes over West Yorkshire, however, while neither Bamba Dieng or Cody Gakpo arrived on deadline day. Leeds offered £35 million for Charles de Ketelaere too. The elegant Belgium international joined Serie A champions AC Milan instead. 

Now, Viktor Gyokeres, with two goals in seven games for the Championship’s bottom club, would not represent the kind of marquee attacking arrival Leeds spent much of the summer chasing. But with Coventry City’s Sweden international telling Fotboll Skanalen that he feels ready for a shot at the Premier League, January already feels like the opportune time for Leeds to step up their interest in a man they’ve been watching from afar with a keen eye (Dean Jones). 

A tally of just two goals thus far must be taken with a slice of context. Gyokeres is actually outperforming his ‘Expected Goals (XG)’, with Coventry’s struggles meaning the former Brighton youngster hasn’t had nearly as many chances as he’d have liked. And, as that stunning long-range strike against Sunderland at the start of the season shows, this is a striker capable of creating something rather special out of very little. 

At 6ft 2ins, physical yet boasting plenty of finesse; Gyokeres is arguably closer in style to Bamford than any of the other forwards Leeds targeted over recent months. 

Could Leeds United bring in Viktor Gyokeres from Coventry City?

“He’s done exceptionally well. And he’s still learning the game,” Sky Blues boss Mark Robins says of Gyokeres; scorer of 18 goals last term when Coventry were flying high in the second-tier. 

“Things are moving in the right direction for him. He is still learning the game. But a lot of the work he does with his power and his pace. And, obviously, he’s got an eye for a goal. 

“There are still areas that he can work on, clearly. But he’s got a lot of really good attributes to allow him to play at the top level.” 

Per The Sun, Fulham showed an interest in the £15 million-rated Gyokeres. Everton too, via Fotboll Skanalen. Since then, however, the Cottagers have signed Carlos Vinicius on loan from Benfica. The Toffees, meanwhile, splashed out on Neal Maupay. 

Leeds, should they renew their interest in January, are unlikely to face as much competition as they would have done in the summer. And another Bamford injury, no matter how short-term, should be all the motivation Leeds need to get Gyokeres through the door.

Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images

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