Marcelo Bielsa praises Eddie Nketiah's efforts but confirms departure of striker

Marcelo Bielsa has confirmed that on-loan Eddie Nketiah is returning to Arsenal and that Leeds United will be looking to bring a striker replacement during the January transfer window.

Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 9:00 am
Updated Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 10:59 am

The Whites head coach said that agreement could not be reached to keep England U21 international Nketiah at the club and following the return to Tottenham of Jack Clarke Leeds were now two players light in their first team squad.

Asked about replacements, Bielsa said: "We are going to analyse options.

"We need to analyse also the physical level of the player who is coming, if he is playing or not, and if this player fits to our style or we need to make some adaptations."

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Eddie Nketiah bids farewell to Leeds United supporters after the end of the game at West Brom. Picture: Tony Johnson

Bielsa praised the contribution of 20-year-old Nketiah to the Leeds cause this season.

He commented: "Arsenal and him informed us that he is not not to continue with us.

"We are sorry for that but we know that what we offered to him was maybe not what the club expected.

"Eddie arrived at Leeds in the Championship. After some time when he was adapting to our style he was part of the 11 starting.

"It wasn't something easy for him because he deserved to be there. After he had a health problem that was more than one month, two months, the first month when he was injured and one more month of adaptation and after this adaptation and after the time he played against Fulham he becomes again one of the starting 11 players.

"He's a specialist great player with a lot of resources and our play is a collective way of playing and one player needs to adapt to this style.

"For this reason when we felt he was part of the team we thought that we were going to feel the same and that he would continue with us.

"He didn't take this decision but he is a great player, an excellent professional and he had very good behaviour, he is a gentleman in every sense.

"We are grateful with him and also to his family and his club.

"They develop Eddie with a very good education and for this reason it's a pity for us that he leaves us because we were happy."