Could Leeds United have had Viktor Gyokeres leading their attack at Elland Road today if they had managed to avoid relegation from the Premier League last season? It’s a speculative question, but according to The Athletic’s Leeds United expert Phil Hay, the club had shown interest in the then-Coventry City standout. This suggests that relegation not only cost them their top-flight status but also dashed any hopes they might have had of signing arguably the most well-rounded center forward in the EFL.
Instead, Viktor Gyokeres made a surprising move to Sporting CP, transitioning from Coventry to Lisbon, and his performance in the green-and-white jersey of Sporting is silencing skeptics who doubted his ability to step up from England’s second tier. Gyokeres has already netted eight goals in nine games for Sporting, including two in the Europa League, one against Atalanta.
As Portuguese reporter Vitor Pinto noted in a conversation with Calciomercato, the £20 million fee Sporting paid Coventry for Gyokeres could soon appear to be a bargain, if it isn’t already. Pinto anticipates it will be challenging for Sporting to retain Gyokeres beyond the 2023/24 season, considering his current status as the standout player of the season with a significant impact on Sporting and the league. He believes that Gyokeres may command a transfer fee close to 100 million euros if he maintains this level of performance.
On the other hand, Leeds can find solace in the impressive form of their marquee striker signing, Joel Piroe, who has already found the net five times. However, if Leeds achieves what Marcelo Bielsa did in 2020 by bringing Premier League football back to Elland Road, Piroe, like Gyokeres, will face the challenge of proving that his Championship performances can be replicated on a larger stage.