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After signing for Leeds, down in League One as a 21-year-old, Gradel went on to score 22 league goals for the club. Should he arrive back in Yorkshire, he’ll be doing so as a much more experienced player. Gradel has so far made 45 appearances for Ivory Coast, scoring 9 international goals.
Having been born in Ivory Coast but arriving in England via France, Gradel played his youth football with Lewisham College and then Leicester City. 4 years with the Midlands club saw him eventually make his professional debut in League One before starting to climb the football ladder with Leeds.
There’s no doubt that he’s a talent and so should Leeds consider taking him back. Here are two major reasons why they should.
Forward players with enough pace and trickery to worry defences are assets who are routinely snapped up by Premier League clubs. This was the case with Gradel, who was signed out of Leeds by Ligue1 side Saint-Etienne on transfer deadline day back in August 2011.
At one stage scoring 17 goals in a season, he was a hit in France before signing for Bournemouth in 2015. Gradel has managed just 21 Premier League appearances on the south coast and all of that pace is currently going to waste. Competition is stiff in forward positions in that league and Gradel is finding it tough to nail down a place.
At 29, he retains his pace and ability and would be a huge asset for any club. Leeds would do very well to add that to their attacking options.
Regardless of whether Leeds are in the Premier League or the Championship next year, losing creative or goal scoring players is an absolute disaster for them. In Kemar Roofe they have found themselves a fast, attack-minded player capable of scoring and creating. He has become very valuable to Leeds but will definitely be a target for any clubs which are in a better position come the summer.
Roofe will be an on-demand player in the summer and if Leeds choose to allow him to leave, it should not happen without replacing at least some of the pace, trickery and goal scoring ability. Max Gradel would be an ideal candidate to replace those qualities should Roofe move on, especially given that he is 29 and has played for the club before. Hence, there should be no settling period too. What an instant replacement he would be!