Transfer Talk: Leeds look to add firepower with Rutter arrival
Leeds are working hard to add some firepower to their ranks this winter — and Georginio Rutter is their prime target.
Jesse Marsch is intent on bringing in reinforcements during the January window with a centre forward his priority.
Rutter, who is currently plying his trade in the Bundesliga with Hoffenheim, is an exciting — if unproven — prospect.
Ahead of Leeds' clash with Aston Villa tonight, we take a look at what he could bring to Elland Road and if he is the right man for the job.
Leeds need goals
Leeds have taken 17 points from 17 games in the Premier League this season — scoring 25 goals and conceding 31.
Given only three clubs have conceded more often, it is clear they need to tighten up at the back but recruiting a goalscorer could be the quickest way to improve.
Marsch has set his team up in a 4-2-3-1 system this season and used Rodrigo to lead the line due to Patrick Bamford's injury issues — he has contributed 10 goals this campaign.
But bringing in another marksman capable of helping the Spain international could be the difference between Leeds pushing towards the top half of the table or being sucked into a relegation battle.
A marquee signing
Hoffenheim released a statement on Sunday revealing that Rutter, 20, would no longer be taking part in training due to interest from England.
The club said: "For the time being, Georginio Rutter will not take part at all in training or in the friendly match against Servette.
"Since yesterday, there have been rumours circulating of a move to the Premier League for the Frenchman.
"Georgi has been confronted with a major issue that is taking a lot of his energy. He is a young man and it is therefore understandable that he is preoccupied by the current situation.
"From our side, it is a case of dealing with a young man in a responsible manner and for that reason, we have decided that he should not participate in full training with the first team right now."
A serious prospect
Rutter has received four caps for France Under-21s and is considered one of the most exciting talents in the Bundesliga.
Leeds have already secured the signing of defender Max Wober from FC Salzburg and have now set their sights on the Hoffenheim prospect.
He has contributed two goals and two assists in 15 appearances in the German top flight this season for a side sitting 11th in the table.
A capable dribbler known for defending diligently, Rutter is a player with a high ceiling — although he does have areas to improve on — and he would be a fine alternative to Rodrigo.
A rapid ascent
Rutter's trajectory to this point has been impressive — he has yet to reach 100 club games and already has a reported price tag of £30million.
He took his first steps in football with Menimur before joining Vannes in 2014.
After three years there, he earned the attention of Rennes and made his debut for the Brittany club in September 2020. After five senior appearances and one goal, he left for Germany.
Since arriving at Hoffenheim, he has contributed 11 strikes and eight assists in 64 first-team appearances. He also has Europa League and Champions League experience under his belt.
Tense times at Elland Road
Not that European experience is a necessity at Elland Road right now — Leeds are walking a delicate tightrope that could shape Marsch's tenure.
The West Yorkshire club are winless in their last six outings in all competitions and are only two points clear of the relegation zone.
Wolves eliminated them from the Carabao Cup third round shortly before the break for the World Cup and they must replay their FA Cup clash with Cardiff after drawing last weekend.
Every Premier League game in this period of the season has taken on greater significance for Leeds and Marsch.
Rutter's arrival could inspire them but first they have to navigate a tough assignment at Villa.