COMMENT By Richard Parks
Now is the perfect time for Leeds United to reignite their interest in signing Peterborough goal machine Jack Marriott.
The Mirror claimed in January that the Yorkshire giants were in pole position to land the striker, who has ripped up League One this season with 31 goals from 52 matches in all competitions.
In the event, Leeds turned their attention to Tyler Roberts and a deal worth up to £4million was sealed with West Brom on deadline day.
With Roberts aged 19, injured and seemingly out for the season, Caleb Ekuban boasting just a single league goal to his name and with main man Pierre-Michel Lasogga only on a season-long loan, a proven centre-forward has to be a priority for director of football Victor Orta in the forthcoming transfer window.
That man should be Marriott, who has become the latest Peterborough striker to run amok in the third tier following the likes of Aaron McLean, Dwight Gayle, Craig Mackail-Smith, Britt Assombalonga and Conor Washington.
The former Ipswich Town player, who ignited his career when he stepped down the divisions to join Luton on a free in 2015, only joined Peterborough last summer.
But what an impact he has made, with his 14th minute goal in Peterborough’s 2-0 win at Northampton Town on Monday not only taking his team to fifth in the league but also enhancing his own remarkable personal tally for the campaign.
Marriott’s haul of 25 goals and five assists from league matches means he has now directly been involved in 30 league goals, second among players in all four divisions of English football only to Liverpool superstar Mohamed Salah.
30 – Jack Marriott has been involved in 30 league goals this season (25 goals, 5 assists), the only player to have been involved in more in the top four tiers of English football is Mohamed Salah (38). Posh. pic.twitter.com/7dsK2ygyDb
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 2, 2018
Leeds must seize the opportunity to swoop for Marriott if Peterborough fail to secure promotion via the play-offs.
In Twitter exchanges with Leeds fans in January, Yorkshire Evening Post correspondent Phil Hay said on his personal account that it would cost £6million to land Marriott.
Marriott will cost about £6m. I can’t see it.
— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) January 11, 2018
At the time, that was seen as too expensive for Leeds, but they subsequently forked out a combined £9.5million for Adam Forshaw, Laurens De Bock and Roberts.
Marriott has made the climb from the fourth tier to League One look an easy one and he has the game and predatory instincts to thrive in the Championship.
Leeds’ interest is understandable, given that they are crying out for a prolific goalscorer who can fuse the mobility and work-rate of Ekuban with the finishing of Lasogga.
This would be a deal that could solve the club’s goal problems instantly.
In other Leeds United transfer news, the club are working on a deal to sign an English centre-back who has been the best in the league this season.