The Imps have been linked with a move for Leeds United midfielder Robbie Gotts this morning, one in a long list of teams allegedly interested in the 20-year-old.
Sunderland, Huddersfield, Hull City, Charlton and Swindon have all been cited as possible suitors for the player, who operates in the centre of the park, but also on the right side of the field from wing-back to right-wing.
A bit about Gotts; he’s been on the bench plenty for Leeds, but made only a handful of appearances. He has one senior league appearance to his name, that came in the Championship in June as Leeds lost 2-0 to Cardiff, where he got 13 minutes of action on the left of midfield. His debut came in January against Arsenal in the FA Cup, a full start during which he lasted an hour, again on the left of midfield. Most recently, Gotts came on in the EFL Cup against Hull City, playing right midfield for the final 17 minutes of Hulls penalty shoot out win. Gotts converted his penalty n the shoot out, but couldn’t see the Whites through.
Gotts is a central midfielder primarily but was once described by Marcelo Bielsa as the most “dynamic” player he had ever seen.
“He’s a number eight,” Bielsa said in November 2019. “A midfielder, he is not offensive and not defensive, he’s a number eight. I have never seen a player play with such a dynamic. He’s a player with skills.
“He showed he deserved to play in the first team. I wish he would play with the first team soon, but he competes with players with a high level.”
He can also play at right-back and I suspect that is a hint at how we might be able to shuffle things around to bring him in; more on that shortly. He was linked with Huddersfield in an expected reunion with former Leeds Under 23 boss Carlos Corberán, and the Sunderland and Hull links were most likely due to a combination of his ability and the low impact he would have on salary cap restrictions. Swindon were also in the hunt, but they have seemingly dropped out now, possibly given the calibre of the competition. Both us and Charlton are new names being linked and, like Swindon, I don’t think we would be serious contenders without the start we’ve had, and of course, Michael’s reputation.
Bear in mind, we were under the impression little more would be done on the transfer front, but I wonder if this move could see Alex Bradley heading out on loan. TJ Eyoma is our first-choice right-back, but Harry has filled in there and that leads me to think there might be scope for Gotts to come in. I could see him slotting in at right-back, Alex leaving on loan and Aaron Lewis still out in the cold. The situation with Alex is an odd one; fans have long been admirers of Wales Under 21, but somehow he always seems fit for international duty, but never when he is back at the club. With that uncertainty, I can see a clear need for a full back, which might be the reason we are eyeing Gotts. Plus, if he is a midfielder by trade, when TJ is in the side we can play Gotts in the dynamic eight role currently operated by James Jones and Conor McGrandles. I see us as playing something like a 4-1-2-3, or 4-1-4-1 at times, and that actually leaves us short of eights, with Edun very much a holding player, along with Bridcutt. Jorge Grant can play there, but it wouldn’t hurt to bring in real quality.
I’m also not surprised we’re still tapping the loan market. I remarked that we hadn’t used our full quota and with Callum Morton injured, there is still scope for us to add new loan players, even with Soule, Eyoma, Palmer and Johnson in the squad. I always felt, right from my first meeting with Michael, that he would use the loan market to plug gaps and fill holes once the bulk of his permanent business has been done. It’s exciting to think we could attract a player of Gott’s quality, especially with big clubs in the hunt, and he would be knocking on the first eleven door almost immediately, as Brennan Johnson is.
Whether this is just paper talk or not, we’ll find out, but it is a move that I could see having benefits, and fitting with our current requirement of cover at full-back, which I have highlighted somewhere recently (I can’t recall where maybe on Matchday Live. Or the Podcast. Or my YouTube channel. Or on the site).