These 4 Leeds United players have just a month to prove they are worth keeping around in January | OneFootball

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Football League World

·3 December 2023

These 4 Leeds United players have just a month to prove they are worth keeping around in January

Article image:These 4 Leeds United players have just a month to prove they are worth keeping around in January

Several Leeds United players may be fighting to prove their worth to Daniel Farke this month in order to remain at Elland Road in January.

After suffering relegation from the Premier League, the Whites knew they would lose several first-team players in the summer, and that proved to be the case. They had a busy window in terms of incomings, too. Perhaps that would mean a quiet January for Farke, who is expecting much less activity in just over a month's time.

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Compared to the chaos that was the summer, Farke is expecting a less productive month of recruitment, which includes keeping his biggest stars despite anticipated interest from top-flight clubs around Europe.

"Hopefully," Farke said in regards to having a quiet January, per the Yorkshire Evening Post.

"You never know what happens in this business. If you ask me right now, it would be a calm window because the key decisions for our squad are made, and you can always have a look at one or two positions, and what can happen with loan players, but it won’t affect the major direction of the club.

"We have to keep the core players and to make sure the key players of the club are together. The group around the players, also the staff, are there, and it should be a relaxed window and a different one to what we had in the summer.

"We know everything is smoothly working and that we are on the right path. We won’t fall asleep, but I’m expecting a pretty calm window.”

But the busiest aspect of Leeds’ winter transfer moves could be loan exits, with a number of players potentially set to depart Elland Road in the New Year. Some players may wish to find new pastures for regular game time, and others may wish to remain a part of Farke's first-team squad.

There is a strong chance that fringe players such as Leo Hjelde, Darko Gyabi, and Lewis Bate will find new homes; but who are some of those potentially fighting for their spot in Farke's plans?

Here, we take a look at four players who will be looking to prove a point to the German that they are worth keeping around.

Joe Gelhardt

According to the Yorkshire Evening Post, Joe Gelhardt is a player that could end up on loan in the January window having failed to make much of an impact in Farke’s side.

Somewhat hampered by injury, he is regularly making the bench when fit, but hardly ever utilised by Leeds' chief, who has a lot of options in his front line. Gelhardt played seven times in total prior to the recent international break, scoring once before injuring his hand.

Now fully fit again, Gelhardt simply needs to be playing at a key stage in his development as a young professional. He is another player that was linked with a move in the summer, and didn't appear a million miles away from making a loan switch to high-flyers Ipswich Town. It could be on the cards again if he can't force his way back in during the busy festive period.

Ian Poveda

The diminutive attacker is yet to really meet the expectations that arose following his promising switch from Manchester City almost four years ago. Poveda has failed to rip up any trees on loan with Blackburn Rovers and then Blackpool in the Championship in previous loan spells, too.

Poveda's contract is up in June, and although he has been on the fringes of Farke's squad at times, he realistically needs to leave to gain regular first-team football elsewhere and a parting of ways suits both Leeds and the 23-year-old unless he can change Farke's mind.

He was used recently from the bench against Rotherham, where he consistently beat his man on the flank but failed to create anything meaningful. His swivels and drop of a shoulder were impressive, but his final action after that left a lot to be desired. However, Farke admitted that he has seen more in training from the wide man recently.

Charlie Cresswell

Again, like Gelhardt, it is being reported that it is very possible that Cresswell will be available for loan in the January transfer window, as per the Yorkshire Evening Post. Cresswell was a key player while out on loan with Millwall last season as the Lions chased Premier League promotion, and attracted interest from clubs in the summer before remaining at Elland Road.

He has seldom been involved, and the 21-year-old may have been hoping to be afforded more opportunities with Leeds this season since relegation to the Championship, but has struggled to break into Farke's plans. Game time is the most crucial thing for his development at such a key age.

Cresswell has started just one Championship game and two EFL Cup ties. His last game time came in the 101st minute of the 1-0 win over QPR on October 4th. He has played a little over 300 minutes so far this season for the club. He will have to work his way past the likes of Liam Cooper, as well as the starting pair of Pascal Struijk and Joe Rodon, if he is to prove he is worth keeping around past January.

Junior Firpo

Firpo's injury has kept him sidelined for the majority of the campaign so far but more recently, he has been a part of matchday squads. The left-back is a high earner at Elland Road and requires good performances to be kept around by Leeds, who could be in the market for an alternative specialist to fill that role.

Nevertheless, it seems Firpo could still be on the move in the New Year, as Foot Mercato has confirmed that Real Betis are keen on bringing the player back to the club, as he started his professional career with them before moving to Camp Nou and Barcelona. The update states that Betis are preparing a loan offer for Firpo, which would include an option to buy in the summer.

Leeds may be minded to take them up on that offer, unless Firpo can seriously challenge Sam Byram for his place in the team over the course of the next month. With games thick and fast, and Byram's fitness also an issue, Firpo is likely to get the required game time. The Spaniard will need to up the levels he showed in the Premier League if he is to maintain a spot in Farke's first-team plans.

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