Leeds United bolstered their squad well in the January transfer window but suffered what seemed like a minor setback in their comfortable FA Cup win over Accrington Stanley.
Their leading scorer Rodrigo was forced off after 69 minutes with an unknown ailment, and only now that the transfer window is shut has it become known that it was much worse than initially feared.
The Spaniard is set to be out for the next two months, a hammer blow which leaves Jesse Marsch somewhat threadbare up top and possibly regretting his lack of foresight in the transfer market.
Georginio Rutter was their main addition last month, as the Whites shattered their record transfer fee to welcome the Frenchman. However, at just 20 years old, the huge burden placed upon someone so young could prove overwhelming, especially with that £36m price tag hanging over him.
Perhaps Marsch could look to remove him from the limelight and instead promote one of his highly-rated youth prospects who could enter the fray as fearless asset and without the baggage of a club-record transfer outlay.
The outstanding candidate for such a call-up would have to be Mateo Joseph, with the Spaniard having proven himself a consistent goalscorer in the academy.
This season has comfortably been the 19-year-old’s most prolific, as he boasts 11 goals in as many Premier League 2 appearances, alongside four well-earned senior cameos.
Such is his blistering form that he has deservedly been described by writer Tom Maston as “on fire in front of goal”, and he has the goalscoring prowess to atone for Rodrigo’s enforced absence.
However, the teenage sensation also has the tactical intelligence to fill his elder compatriot’s boots, as journalist Joe Donnohue outlined one of the 20-year-old’s top qualities by tweeting: “Underrated aspect of Mateo Joseph’s centre-forward play is his pressing; doesn’t give opponents a moment’s peace”.
This claim was further supplemented by another writer in Matty Hewitt, who dubbed Joseph a “really bright” young player.
Perhaps he could now translate his electrifying form at youth level into the first-team squad in Leeds’ hour of need, offering an ideal foil for Rutter whilst catapulting his career ever closer to the stardom for which he seems destined.