Leeds United have enjoyed a strong start back to life in the Championship and are currently competing for an automatic promotion place as they eye a swift Premier League return.
The Whites are currently third in the table and seven points off second place after 15 matches but did recently secure a gigantic win against league leaders Leicester City.
Georginio Rutter’s second-half strike was enough to secure all three points for the away side at the King Power in an entertaining clash last week.
German head coach Daniel Farke was brought in to lead the promotion charge over the summer and the club’s impressive form so far this term suggests that it was a smart appointment.
However, there is plenty of football left to play before the end of the season and the outcome of the promotion race could determine how the ex-Norwich City boss’ first year at Elland Road is judged.
His squad was bolstered over the summer with a host of new additions, including the likes of Joel Piroe, Ethan Ampadu, and Glen Kamara, but the January transfer window will provide him with another opportunity to make further changes to his side.
Leeds United transfer news – Ali Al-Hamadi
South London Press reporter Edmund Brack recently claimed that the Whites are keeping tabs on AFC Wimbledon centre-forward Ali Al-Hamadi ahead of the turn of the year.
However, they are not the only club in the running to land his signature as the in-demand talent has attracted interest from a host of Championship clubs.
Journalist Darren Witcoop has named fellow second tier sides Hull, Cardiff, Bristol City, and Stoke as also eyeing up the 21-year-old number nine ahead of January.
The reporter also stated that Peterborough and Barnsley had offers rejected by Wimbledon during the recent summer transfer window, with the League Two club now said to be looking for a fee in excess of £1m for their starlet.
However, it remains to be seen whether or not Leeds are prepared to make an official offer for his services or if they are willing to spend in excess of £1m to add Al-Hamadi to their squad for the second half of the 2023/24 campaign.
The 21-year-old marksman could be a dream long-term heir to current first-team striker Patrick Bamford for Farke, as the former England international has struggled so far this season.
Bamford’s statistics this season
Piroe and Rutter have been the manager’s go-to options at the top end of the pitch and the ex-Chelsea prospect has been relegated to being a back-up option for the Whites.
The 30-year-old dud has not done enough to convince Farke that he deserves a regular spot in the team and has not done enough in his cameo appearances to change the head coach’s mind.
He has made seven substitute appearances in the Championship this season and has failed to register a single goal or assist for his team in that time.
Bamford is not able to blame his lack of game time or the service from his teammates for this failure as the English liability has accrued 1.16 xG and missed a penalty, which shows that he has had the chances to get on the scoresheet.
Unfortunately, Farke does not have a reliable alternative to the Dutch marksman to be able to ditch him from the XI as Bamford’s disappointing displays have not suggested that he is ready to step in for him.
The left-footed dud’s lack of form in front of goal is not a flash in the pan, either, as he struggled throughout the 2022/23 campaign as Leeds were relegated from the Premier League.
Bamford scored four goals in 28 top-flight appearances and woefully underperformed at the top end of the pitch as his teammates created plenty of opportunities for him to add to his goal tally, whilst he only registered two assists.
The 30-year-old forward racked up 8.61 xG and missed a staggering 13 ‘big chances’ for Leeds across those 28 outings, which shows that the chances were there for him to fire in far more than just four league goals.
His lack of form over the last 18 months or so suggests that the Whites need to move on from Bamford and bring in a player who could compete with Piroe and Rutter to offer more quality to the side, which is what Al-Hamadi could do.
The statistics that show why Al-Hamadi could replace Bamford
The Iraq international is currently plying his trade in League Two and it is a big step up to Championship football, which means that this could be a risky move by the club.
However, at the age of 21, Al-Hamadi is a promising young talent who could come in as a player with the potential to improve and grow as he gains more experience and learns from Farke on the training pitch.
His form for Wimbledon so far this season suggests that the potential is there for him to be a centre-forward who can score and create goals for his teammates at an impressive rate.
The number nine has registered four goals and five assists in 13 League Two starts for his side, which is an average of one goal contribution every 1.44 starts.
Only Piroe (five) and Crysencio Summerville (six) have scored more league goals for Leeds than Al-Hamadi has managed this season, whilst only Rutter (five assists and three goals) has produced as many assists as the Wimbledon star.
His form this term has also come off the back of a fantastic second half of the 2022/23 campaign, in which the young marksman registered ten goals and one assist in 15 League Two starts.
This means that Al-Hamadi has recorded an eye-catching 14 goals and six assists in 28 League Two starts in 2023 – one goal every other start on average.
There is no guarantee that he would be able to translate that form over to Championship level but Leeds would be signing an in-form young player with room to grow, which is why he could be a fantastic heir to Bamford – who is an underperforming dud at the opposite end of his career.