Sources: Bielsa plan for Robbie Gotts revealed after surprise Leeds twist
Leeds United regard Robbie Gotts as a first-team star of the future.
Which is precisely why they terminated his season-long Lincoln City loan with almost indecent haste and agreed a deal with Salford City instead.
This shock double move, which was first revealed by Football Insider early on Friday morning, seemingly came out of the blue.
But it was borne out of a desire of the Leeds management and coaching team to ensure Gotts develops at the quickest possible rate while away from the club this season.
At League One leaders Lincoln, the versatile youngster, 21, had a been a bit-part player.
A cluster of starts between early November and early December had given hope at Leeds that Gotts would be a regular and get the senior experience the club staff believe he so desperately needs.
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But once he had dropped down the pecking order either side of the new year, the United hierarchy decided to act.
That was despite him scoring his first professional goal earlier in the week for Lincoln, in the EFL Trophy.
First professional goal 🙌
— Lincoln City FC (@LincolnCity_FC) January 13, 2021
Leeds knew they could find the youngster another League One club, and possibly one at the lower levels of the Championship.
But United wanted a team challenging for promotion and who dominate possession. And, one where, crucially, Gotts could be a regular starter.
They believe that can happen at Salford under Richie Wellens, who had previously tried to sign Gotts in the last window when he was in charge of former club Swindon Town.
Marcelo Bielsa and his staff regard Gotts highly and believe he has what it takes to establish himself in the first team of his parent club.
That is why he was handed a three-and-a-half year contract in February 2019, a long agreement for a player who was then just 18.
The perfect scenario for Leeds is that Gotts, who plays both central midfield and right-back, can be a key figure for Salford and helps them get promoted from League Two.
They are currently fifth in the league and only three points off the leaders Carlisle United.
As for the future, another loan next season for Gotts cannot be ruled out.
Making the Leeds first team is tougher now than for a generation, and for the academy players they must be truly special to stand out and get an extended run.