According to Football Insider (h/t Yorkshire Evening Post), Leeds United have been linked with a shock swoop for Sheffield United striker David McGoldrick, who is yet to find the net for the Blades in the Premier League this season.
McGoldrick was one of the key driving forces behind Sheffield United’s promotion-winning campaign in the Championship last season with 15 goals and 4 assists in 45 appearances. He has continued to be a regular fixture in manager Chris Wilder’s playing eleven in the top-flight this term.
The Irishman is still awaiting his first goal at the Premier League level but has already made 19 league appearances so far, including 16 starts.
Despite his lack of goal contribution, McGoldrick has been instrumental in the Blades’ fairytale start to life in the top-flight, earning rave reviews for his work rate, resolve and tenacity in front of goal.
The 11-cap Republic of Ireland international racked up 45 goals and 25 assists in 159 appearances for Ipswich Town across all competitions before earning a move to Bramall Lane back in 2018.
McGoldrick remains a proven goalscorer in the Championship but has understandably struggled a wee bit to make the step up to the Premier League at 32. Meanwhile, Leeds United are currently the pace-setters in the Championship along with West Brom.
The West Yorkshire giants are cruising in the automatic promotion race but Marcelo Bielsa will surely be wise enough to know that the tables can turn in the second half of the campaign.
The Whites failed to secure promotion from a position of strength last campaign, thanks to a blip during the Easter period. But with the confidence and self-belief of the team looking sky-high after a dominant first half of the season, the fans at Elland Road have reason to believe that Leeds will not falter this time around.
Given that the balance of the team looks absolutely perfect, Bielsa doesn’t really need to make any wholesale changes to a squad that has already proven itself to be a cut above the rest in the Championship this season.
However, a replacement for Arsenal loanee Eddie Nketiah, who was recalled by his parent club, should undoubtedly be a priority. Bamford is now the only reliable option available to spearhead the attack.
Bamford has done reasonably well as the first-choice centre-forward under Bielsa but with Ryan Edmondson and Tyler Roberts not playing a big role, the club’s lack of depth in front of goal could well be exposed in the coming months if the former Chelsea man suffers an injury.
Hence, signing David McGoldrick, a tried and tested option at the Championship level, certainly makes a lot of sense in footballing terms.
In an ideal world, the Whites need to look for someone who could come through the door and possibly make an immediate impact, and McGoldrick perfectly fits the bill in that regard.
The 32-year-old might have struggled to cut the teeth in the Premier League this season but his excellent track record in the second-tier should make him an absolute gem of a recruit for the West Yorkshire giants in January.
The Irishman has a wealth of experience of playing across all the four divisions in England while his overall tally of 75 goals and 30 assists in 318 career appearances in the Championship suggest that McGoldrick could not only be a replacement for Nketiah, but he might as well come through the door as an upgrade on Bamford.
Having guided the Blades to promotion last season, McGoldrick would be well aware of the unwavering consistency that it takes to finish on top of the table in the Championship.
With that in mind, however, it remains to be seen whether Sheffield United would be willing to part ways with the 32-year-old midway through the campaign, given that he still has a contract until 2021 and the Blades have themselves struggled for goals in the Premier League.
All in all, David McGoldrick could well be the missing block in Marcelo Bielsa’s jigsaw as the Whites strive to end their long exile from the top-flight.