Leeds to Recruit Again From the “Other” United? – by Rob Atkinson


Will Keane: could he make the difference?

Rumours abound that young Man U striker Will Keane is to follow in Scott Wootton’s footsteps in furthering his career by making the cross-Pennine move from wrong side to right.  Leeds seem to have figured out a way here to keep to the letter of their commitment without breaking the bank or at least adding too many straws to that particular tottering camel’s back. The luminaries of the Pride of Devon development squad will not command lavish wages, and yet the promises of a “high profile” loan will be trumpeted as having been met; any signing from the Theatre of Hollow Myths will automatically be accepted by the Press and even some fans as high profile, regardless of whether we’ve ever heard of him before.

For those more inclined to think for themselves, though, this trend might appear a little worrying and for more than one reason.  Firstly, Premier League development squads, crammed with potential though they may be, do not necessarily produce players ready to enter the hurly-burly of Championship football.  The trouble is, many fans will see pictures of the new boy in the colours of Man U or whichever other top-flight juggernaut, and they will automatically have these expectations – expectations that the callow youth in question may not yet be ready to meet.  This is a problem which is especially acute at Leeds with its notoriously demanding support and intimidating atmosphere.

Secondly, in this particular case, we have another lad on the way back from a season-ending knee injury – that familiar nasty, the ruptured cruciates.  Too often, we appear to be linked with players who are not only trying to make their way in the game and therefore have startlingly little on their CV, but who also have these orthopaedic skeletons in their closets; the kind of injuries that raise doubts over the patient’s ability to thrive or even survive in an unforgiving environment like the English second tier of professional football.  And it’s not the first time this week that our hopes seem to have been in danger of pinning themselves to footballers with less-than-perfect medical histories.  The spectre of Davide Somma’s career, previously thought dead and buried in June, has been detected floating along the corridors of Thorp Arch this last day or so. Leeds’ immediate prospects, in their current poverty-stricken circumstances, seem a little shaky to be entrusted to playing staff fresh out of the convalescent wards.

That said, these injuries are not necessarily career-enders these days.  Somma showed plenty of class in his too-brief spell in and around United’s first team a few years back – and young Keane was the bright hope of his age group at Man U until his own agonising setback whilst on England U-19 duty.  It’s just that there’s this worry, that we’re placing all our hopes on beardless youth, or chronic injury victims, or both.

If such gambles were to pay off, then I’d be the first to hold my hand up in joy and relief because Leeds United certainly do need something right now, some injection of pace, quality, that lethal finishing ability we’ve so palpably lacked.  But as ifs go, it’s a big one and I’d feel a lot easier in my mind if the allegedly relaxed GFH purse strings could make possible one or two signings of quality and experience who have been there and done it, in cauldrons that bear comparison to the unforgiving white heat of Elland Road.  That’s the kind of high-profile needed right now – not the sort that depends on the media-hyped status of the loaning club, nor yet the kind that brings back fond memories of what a player was once able to do in a Leeds United shirt.

Nobody wishes Davide Somma restored fitness and some reprises of those terrific performances, more than I do.  And nobody would be happier to see a young lad walk in through the doors of Elland Road and carve himself a reputation in the game, to the advantage of my beloved Leeds.  It’s just such a gamble and it seems to me at the moment that gambling should be kept to a minimum.   We should instead be hedging our bets and looking for some tried and tested quality.

It’s not promotion chances we’re weighing in the balance here, after all.  Those prospects already seem dim and distant, as the club’s owners appear to acknowledge.  And yet still Leeds United have to be seen to be trying to compete as far up the league as possible. The supporters will rightly demand that, and if they don’t see that competitive edge and the work ethic that’s always expected at Leeds, then there will be a continuation of that change of mood, that downward spiral of morale which has seen the atmosphere over LS11 dying a slow death over the past decade.  That’s the real challenge for the moment – inspiring the fans to keep the faith.  And whatever attention the owners have so far paid to “engaging with the fans” and other items of PR propaganda – they don’t yet appear to have managed this feat of inspiration.  A more ambitious and realistic attitude to transfer recruitment would go a long way towards that.

13 responses to “Leeds to Recruit Again From the “Other” United? – by Rob Atkinson

  1. If we are considering another youngster with no form then it could spell disaster. We are crying out for experience and ability. I’m not thinking of the ‘journeyman’ type of experience but someone who has still lots to offer.


    • I say go for him. Top 6 finish is unrealistic this term so why not let him cut his teeth at ER. If he does well this season he’d prob extend his stay. He’s young and wants to make a name for himself and its not as if were inundated with good finishers. For me, I don’t want to be dissapointed again this season so as long as BM is putting in the right foundations for a serious challenge next season im happy.


  2. This boy is a goal-scoring machine. He was being promoted last year into the first team when he was injured playing for England under-21s. Fergie was confident in his ability!


    • Absolutely this kid is class, brightest light in a team that included ravel Morrison and pogba? this guy is so wrong if you have a chance to get him on loan do not hesitate.
      I watched the FA youth cup winning team and this kid and his brother are sheer class.
      Take your white rose tinted glasses off my friend or you might just miss out on a real gem.


  3. John jones

    a well constructed view.


  4. I can’t see any good reason not to go in for him. He may be just cutting his teeth but why not at ER? How good could he be next season if he extended a contract? I personal hope we do go for him and its not as if we couldn’t do with someone fresh in the final third wanting to make a name for himself. Anything more than a top 6 finish is unrealistic with what we possess, for now. I Just think if we put the right foundations in this term then a top 6 finish would be easily be within reach


  5. After RM has been tested in front line okay but still….



  6. Your last paragraph was closer to the truth………. we havent got much to lose have we ? Also id like to correct a few people as i noticed a few other blogs talking about the young player in question… He has put 5 goals in as many games since returning from injury…… I think hes worth a look. Id prefer talented young players to come here as we should be building for the future…….. but the joke is that if BM gets youth in he gets articles like this bemoaning the players lack of a “beard” and if he gets an older player he will get moaned at for bringing in another old and useless veteran to sit and soak up wages………..BMC cant win in this regard!


  7. if every one has really written this season off,. then get all the good youngsters in ,but didn’t i hear last year & the year before that next season is going to be the one.get someone in who says this season is the one plenty of quality on our bench & dev.squadgood players sitting on bench for idiot managers every where


  8. dansdad1919

    BMcD previously said that he wanted loanees who we could buy later and who would complement the team, or words to that effect. He must have an eye on building a side as Don Revie did by bringing in excellent young players to marry up with the home grown talent. It makes sense for a youngster at Man U to move on, as he’s not going to get a look in at IT. IF we get him and IF he stays with us he could just be the next Alan Clarke.
    Let’s hope so.


  9. firstly, whats all this top six un-realistic gumph. do you want LEEDS to go up or not???. We go up-all the world and his Miissus will want to be part of 1 of the best loved teams in the world. I really think that BMc can still do it given the right support from the powers that be at ER. he has the knowledge-the forsight and the contacts, otherwise I dont he would have been appointed in the first place. COME ON YOU WHITES. M.O.T.


  10. are people really going to accept mid table already ? one good thing is bmcd seems to come a live after xmas


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