Wigan Athletic head of academy Gregor Rioch is of the view that Latics academy product Joe Gelhardt has left his parent club to join a fantastic Premier League outfit in the shape of Leeds United.
Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds made their fourth signing of the summer by snapping up 18-year-old Gelhardt from Wigan on Monday.
The Whites are making signings over the transfer window to shape up their squad for life back in the Premier League and the 18-year-old has become the latest addition to Bielsa’s attacking arsenal at Elland Road
Despite his team losing a valuable asset in Gelhardt, Rioch is of the view that the youngster has moved on to another level of professional football by signing for a fantastic English top flight team like Leeds.
Rioch, who takes pride in seeing the striker take a big step forward in his budding career, wants the best for Gelhardt and insisted it is a bittersweet moment for all the coaching staff at Wigan to see him leave.
“Whilst this is a sad day in many ways for us as Joffy moves on after seven years at the club, it is also a proud one for many staff at the academy – including head of academy recruitment Kenny Williams – who brought Joffy [Gelhardt] to Wigan Athletic at the age of 10”, Rioch told Wigan’s official site.
“We always know the roadmap for the players we develop for the first team may then see them move on to another level and in Joe’s case he is joining a fantastic Premier League club in Leeds United.
“Joe leaves with our best wishes for a successful career.”
The striker made 18 appearances for the Latics in the 2019/20 Championship season and has signed to a four-year deal with the Yorkshire giants.