Noel Whelan has urged Marcelo Bielsa not to send Joe Gelhardt out on loan as Leeds United close in on the signing of the Wigan Athletic striker.

The former Whites and Coventry forward, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, pointed to the success of Harvey Elliott, 17, at Liverpool as reason to why Gelhardt, 18, should remain at Elland Road if signed.

Football Insider revealed yesterday that a deal is close to being wrapped up after personal terms were agreed and the transfer is expected to finalised this week.

Wigan’s administrators have accepted United’s offer of £1million plus performance-related add-ons.

Gelhardt, who has been capped by England at Under-18 level, made 19 appearances for the Latics last season.

When asked by Football Insider if he thought a loan move would be beneficial for the teenager next season were he to arrive at Elland Road, Whelan said:

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“I would like to keep him at the club. It is important that he beds himself into this environment. He is at a new club with new surroundings and you need to get use to that as a player.

“He is young but that does not matter. We have seen it happen at Liverpool with Harvey Elliott. Sometimes it can benefit a youngster from being in and around the manager, players, staff and training ground rather than signing for a club and going straight out on loan.

“We saw that with Jack Clarke and it has not worked out. I think it is nice to stay at the club you have just signed for, at least for the first 12 months. 

“Leeds do not have an abundance of strikers so there might be game time for him next season depending on who we bring in.”

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