COMMENT By Matt Farr
Leeds are chasing a goalscorer to help fire them back into the Premier League for the first time since the 2003-04 campaign.
They are currently fifth in the Championship, firmly in control of a play-off place, and just seven points behind the automatic promotion spot currently held by Newcastle.
Garry Monk’s side have been linked with a host of names already this month, including Middlesbrough’s Jordan Rhodes and Manchester United youngster Ashley Fletcher.
But back in December, the Daily Star hinted that Leeds could instead swoop for David Nugent. The Middlesbrough outcast has a proven track record in the Championship, and would have been a very healthy proposition for the promotion chasers.
However, Nugent signed for Championship rivals Derby on Monday, in news that was released on Derby’s official Twitter page.
— Derby County (@dcfcofficial) January 9, 2017
But despite the many positives that could have sprung from signing Nugent, Leeds should not feel so hard done by.
There are still reasons to be cheerful, and Football Insider reveals three of them:
They still have Chris Wood
They’ve not got much else in the goalscoring department, but at least they have Chris Wood firing. It’s safe to say that Leeds wouldn’t be where they are this season without Wood’s goals.
The New Zealand international has 16 goals from 28 appearances in all competitions, and their promotion hopes could well hinge on Wood staying fit and maintaining his prolific form.
He bagged a brace in their most recent Championship victory over Rotherham, and is expected to lead the line once again when Leeds take on Derby on Friday.
The 25-year-old could do with a little help from another goalscorer, but he and Leeds have done well enough already not to warrant too much concern.
There is still plenty of time left to do business
Had Leeds spent the entire month pursuing a deal for Nugent to then miss out at the last-minute, that would have been a problem.
As it stands, there is still plenty of time left to bring in an alternative. While it can be difficult to sign players midway through the season, there are plenty of options out there – and there will likely be more as sides across England look to chop and change over the coming weeks.
Jordan Rhodes, for example, could still be available for the right price; while if West Ham can land themselves a striker of their own, Fletcher could then be free to move to Elland Road on loan.
Leeds fans aren’t even that bothered
Some areas of the Leeds fanbase were excited at the prospect of signing Nugent. However, many others saw his move to Derby as somewhat of a blessing to them.
Opinions ranged from there being ‘better options out there’, to £2.5million is ‘too much’. Despite his impressive goals and promotion record in the second-tier, it is understandable why some fans might not have liked the Nugent-to-Leeds idea.
He is 31-years-old and hasn’t played much football for Middlesbrough this season. Leeds have their sights set on Premier League football, and Nugent has struggled to make an impression in that division. He could well have helped Leeds get back to the top-flight, but beyond that who knows.
We’ll never know whether or not he could have been a success at Elland Road, but for now, many Leeds fans believe they’ve dodged a bullet.