Journalist reveals why Sunderland won the Joe Gelhardt race from Leeds United

Journalist reveals why Sunderland won the Joe Gelhardt race from Leeds United

According to journalist Alan Nixon, Sunderland won the race for Leeds United striker Joe Gelhardt due to the club’s size and ability to offer them regular minutes of play.

Gelhardt’s future was the subject of much transfer speculation during the January transfer window and as we revealed, more than half of the Championship were interested in leaving him on loan.

The 20-year-old joined the Whites from Wigan Athletic in July 2020 and has scored twice in 40 games during his time at Elland Road. He played a crucial role in helping Jesse Marsch’s side ensure survival in the Premier League last season.

We reported last month that the Latics were interested in bringing Gelhardt back to the club on a temporary basis, while Blackburn Rovers and Middlesbrough were also said to be among his suitors before the Black Cats landed his signature.

In a question-and-answer session on his Patreon page, Nixon shared some insight into why Sunderland was chosen as Gelhardt’s travel destination.

He claims Wigan were the first club to make an offer to Leeds and that Gelhardt’s top priority was playing regular first-team football, meaning he was ready to return to DW Stadium. However, the Latics’ poor form and precarious position at the bottom of the table worked against them, while “the manager’s uncertainty didn’t help” after Kolo Toure was sacked and replaced by Shaun Maloney late in the window.

Nixon also revealed that Blackburn had gone to great lengths to sign Gelhardt but there were concerns about a move to Ewood Park.

“Blackburn made a big game for him, but I don’t think they all believed he was going to play every game and there were severe penalties when he didn’t,” Nixon said.

He says the fact that Sunderland are in the play-offs and scoring big home crowds were key factors that gave Tony Mowbray’s men the edge.

“In the end, it was the size of the club and what they were willing to spend and ‘promise’ that helped win the race,” explained Nixon.

Gelhardt is expected to make his debut for the Black Cats when they take on fellow top-six hopefuls Millwall at The Den on Saturday.

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The judgment

This is an interesting insight from Nixon.

With so many clubs interested in Gelhardt, Leeds have always had to weigh all potential targets incredibly carefully, so it’s a significant endorsement to the Sunderland and Mowbray project that he’s been allowed to move to Wearside.

His arrival at the club has become more important given that Ross Stewart has been ruled out for the season and Ellis Simms has not been able to be brought back from Everton or sign more attacking reinforcements, meaning he is almost guaranteed to get the playing time he desires.

It was a coup for the Black Cats to win the race for Gelhardt but now he will be under pressure to deliver in Stewart’s absence.

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