How Much Can Leeds Afford? Becchio and Gradel in January Would Seal Promotion – by Rob Atkinson


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Gradel & Becchio – dynamic duo

We’ve heard lately about United manager Brian McDermott having “funds” to assist with any player recruitment he might wish to undertake during the forthcoming January transfer window.  It’s a pretty vague word, funds.  Slightly more specific is the reported “seven-figure sum” invested in the past week or so by Managing Director and prospective Tory MP David Haigh.  Again, though, that doesn’t tell us too much, though it is encouraging.  We mustn’t get too giddy though.  We’re no longer living in the days when a paltry million pounds was quite a lot of money.  The one buzz-phrase surprisingly missing from this little shower of clichés is “transfer war chest” – perhaps because what Brian has is not so much of a war chest as a slightly cracked piggy bank.  But don’t be surprised if the phrase “war chest” is wheeled out at some point before the new year.

However much we have, or however little – and it’s important to acknowledge the wisdom of not being too specific as to figures because of the inflationary consequences for asking prices – the real burning questions would be: who do we go for? Who, after all, do we need?  The team is showing clear signs of increased unity and cohesion under Brian’s benign stewardship, and there must be a certain amount of wariness as to the possibility of rocking the boat too hard.  But you can never have enough good players, and for a club with an alarming track record over recent years of getting rid of our best, that maxim has a particular resonance.

Some of those players chucked overboard recently (yes ok, some may possibly have jumped ship) would be welcomed back by many.  But, of those, who would really fit in and add something significant to the existing squad?  I can think of three – and perhaps two of those might be feasible targets in January if – big if – we were to go down the route of welcoming back old boys.  My three would be Snodgrass, Becchio and Gradel. Sadly, Snods is probably beyond us for the moment, although that could and most likely would change in the event of Leeds and Norwich swapping leagues in May (Please, God. Pretty please.)  But the other two could just possibly be realistic targets – depending on exactly how much money there is in that piggy bank.

Believe me, I know how that assertion will be received by some.  I’ll probably get comments about “never go back”, “unrealistic targets”, “wage structure”, “why would he?” and all the rest.  Do save your breath, or your pixels and fonts – I’m aware of all the pitfalls.  But maybe if Leeds are taking the view that – hang on, we might actually have a shot at promotion here – there might be a more ambitious attitude to investment to bring about that promotion.  I believe that the acquisitions of Becchio and Gradel – with Becchio by far the more likely, but let’s dream a little – would pretty much guarantee a play-off place and could even open the door to the top two.  Both would add qualities that we currently just don’t possess.

McCormack has been prolific lately, but he’s a different type of striker to Luciano Becchio – and if Blackstock returns to Forest after his loan spell, we’re still going to need someone as an option for Rossco to play off.  And Becchio is a proven scorer at this level. As for Gradel – just look at those clips of him running at defenders in the white shirt. How bloody sexy is that??  He could do a hell of a lot of damage in this league, and he has a goal in him as well.  French football and French crowds are pretty insipid by English standards – could Mad Max be tempted home if we had the right kind of attractively juicy carrot to dangle before him?  It’s not impossible – though, again, some will say it is.  I wish them joy of their gloomy pessimism and inability to dream.

This is very much a what-if scenario.  I doubt that, in the real world, we’ll be making the level of investment required for such an audacious double swoop.  Becchio on loan, maybe.  The lad is plainly deeply unhappy at Norwich, and would probably walk back to Elland Road given the chance.  Gradel would be the cherry on the icing on the cake.  It’s undeniable that either or both “could do a job”.  Can anybody seriously dispute that?

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47 responses to “How Much Can Leeds Afford? Becchio and Gradel in January Would Seal Promotion – by Rob Atkinson

  1. ropey wyla

    I would absolutely love to have Gradel back over any of the ex’s mentioned coz he was head and shoulders better than all of them and…… he was mad

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  2. Roger Mcsnifflepole

    Haha Gradel. Good luck there boss. Very happy where he is and wasn’t ever into living in Leeds or the fans. From the horses mouth.

    Snodgrass – yeah, maybe just out of your league. Pahahaha. Just.

    Becchio, yeah, maybe.

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  3. Roger Mcsnifflepole

    Who would have thought – a Leeds fan stuck in the past.

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  4. I have to echo ropey and say bring back Gradel , I honestly believe that he would give us exactly what’s needed for a promotion push after Christmas , we all know what he’s capable of on the pitch but as you well know rob , get the crowd buzzing and they’ll push you over the finish line , bringing gradel back would get everyone excited at exactly the right time

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  5. GrenvilleHair

    Nah Make Blackstock permanent and get Mowatt to sign on again. Top two (three) are too far away now but the play-offs are feasible: then spend the money in the Summer if it doesn’t happen, when some of the dead wood can be culled. Mind you, resigning lash worked back in the day: he was the best player on the park by a mile i remember, even at 39!

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  6. Good choice,I remember Max running Scott Parker ragged,
    Meanwhile looking forward to the second invasion of Lancashire this season being from bolton it was fantastic to see so many Leeds over here and with 2000 more at Blackburn the atmosphere should be absolutely fantastic.

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  7. I would CRY if Becchio came back, it would make me the happiest girl in the world! I love him so much! I also love your blog and I hope everything on it comes true!

    http://www.iamdaniellekent.wordpress.com

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    • If it real means that much, Danielle – well, what the hell. I’ll use one of my New Year wishes to try and make it come true – just for your kind words about my blog, which just LOVES praise. And, actually – I’d be quite thrilled too – so it’s partly selfish 😉

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  8. Simon Clarkson

    Gradel for me too, pace, attitude & a goal scorer.

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  9. Gradel, all day long!!!! (dreaming!maybe?). Becchio,reading a piece in one of the red top’s today,suggests he is unhappy with his current situation at the canaries,not being allowed to move on(in whatever form-loan and or perm).So that’s a possibility! Who knows what Bmcd.may do, and i suppose it’s his decision on who he earmarks in jan. depending on finance’s.

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  10. As much as I loved Becchio and was gutted to see him go (especially with Colin still at our club and claiming Steve Morison was the next United legend) he’s not what we need. He never particularly played well as a partnership with McCormack, McCormack suits the pace of Blackstock better than Lucciano. It’s an idea that works much better on paper than in practice.

    As for Gradel, we enquired last January, which ultimately turned out to be silly, as he’s on double the wages we can afford (not to mention aiming for european football). As much as he’s said he’d love to return, we’d have to be in the top flight first.

    A much more realistic and efficient target I’ve heard mentioned lately is to pursue Tommy Rowe from Peterborough again – hopefully the last months of his contract means we won’t have to pay Peterborough’s usual extortionate prices. Aside from him being a boyhood Leeds fan, he’s a winger that can create as well as play Left Back – sounds ideal for the 3-5-2 we’ve been seeing the recent success through playing.

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  11. Terry Yorath?

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    • What about him?

      Don’t think one-liners are your scene mate, you probably need a punch line – and some laughing gas for your audience wouldn’t go amiss either.

      Like

  12. Leedstooth

    Gradel is an interesting one – I’m not one for going back to ex-players , but Gradel was a different class when playing for us previously. My only concern would be that the formation that has served us well recently would have to be changed to accommodate him – we currently employ the wing-back way of playing , and Gradel was often a liability when it came to defending. Really liked the guy though , and obviously could give us a different approach.

    I wouldn’t touch Becchio though. As much as he did ok for us , I think there’s better out there , including Blackstock who holds up the ball so much better and who will score goals.

    Just my opinion – love to hear to comments about them.

    Cheers

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  13. Love that “As for Gradel – just look at those clips of him running at defenders in the white shirt. How bloody sexy is that??” pure gold!

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  14. erm lets be logical, we wont be getting Snodgrass for a start….. Gradel seems to want to live in France rather than the UK and would Bechio be long term if one of the poorest sides in the Premiership don’t consider him to be good enough to be in the first team.
    I think BMC is trying to bring people in who may have the potential to grow with the club if we got promoted….. Ofcourse that isn’t easy if the Gaffer is given peanuts to purchase players with. All the real young talent is often spotted quickly so will be expensive to purchase.

    Someone like Tommy Rowe is feasible because whilst he doesn’t set the world on fire, hes got talent and hes fairly young….. I would love Gary Mackay-steven but hes just played for Scotland so every scout in the UK will be watching him now….Also he would be seen as a punt because hes a flair player.

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    • Completely agree on Gradel, Snoddy and Big Mac’s strategy. I still can’t believe Macheda from Scum has re-signed with Doncaster? Why on earth is he not with us for the rest of the season? For such a big club, we seem to miss out some very decent players. Granted wages hold us back, but Doncaster?

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  15. If only nice thought ! Now if that dream became a reality forget the playoffs. In the top 2 I reckon. Mot

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  16. Wouldn’t be surprised if we went for Rowe, but the other 2 seem most unlikely. I want to be the first to say this: is Becchio really better than Smith?.

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    • I want to be the first to reply – it’s like chalk and cheese. But Becchio is the cheese – I’ve always thought that cheese was better than chalk tbh.

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  17. I would say look forwards not back, players with premier quality who would keep us there if we were promoted would be a better option. mot

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    • Why would players of premier quality necessarily want to play for us? Wouldn’t players of premier quality want to play in the, erm, Premier League? The best we might do is fringe Prem squad players – we’ve already got that in Scott Wootton. We need proven Championship performers who would see Leeds as a major move – horses for courses.

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  18. Gradel has made 5 substitute appearances this season for St Etienne having played a total of 115 minutes of football. Whether that’s down to injury or not I am not sure, but neither his or Becchios’ move away from ER has proved fruitful so I think both would jump at the chance of a return. Is Brian McDermott one for looking back though? Fair play to him if not

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    • Good to hear some constructive feedback, instead of all the stuff I predicted in the article I’d get.

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    • would like gradel back but cant see him coming as he wants international caps and wont get them at leeds .
      becchio would need to be brought in as early as possible as i feel he would be lacking in confidence and fitness .
      snoddy no chance while we sit where we are.
      theres got to be some quality elsewhere . i think we will sign becchio permanently and bring in 2 wingers on loan from prem league clubs

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  19. Gradel would be a great signing to play out wide and he would create and score goals, but I don’t think that Leeds can afford his wages, which was why he left Leeds in the first place.
    Leeds would score more goals with a good creative winger in the team or ready to come off the bench and maybe Gary Mackay-Steven or Tommy Rowe are more possible future signings.
    Becchio would be a good signing, but he does lack pace and he is less mobile than Blackstock, who should have his loan extended until the end of this season.

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  20. I would love to see max back in a Leeds Shirt but I wonder if we may be destined to inherit the odd German gooner youth? Let’s hope for both mot

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  21. Brian williams

    Becchio no thanks, we need pace and someone good enough for premier league!!! Gradel would be a great signing, snoddy would be a dream move but no chance.

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  22. dansdad1919

    Gradel and Byram on the right would be so creative but weak defensively, would BMac go for that? Also, would he change the system just as the back 3 are starting to look good? Tommy Rowe might be the left wing back we need to give us the same creativity that Byram gives us on the other side. As for Beccs, I rate him better than Blackstock and with 2 wing backs he’d get good service. I’d like to see Smith get some time on the pitch though with some crosses coming in.
    My gut feeling is that Rowe is the only one we’ll have a chance of getting, we’ll see.

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    • I think Rowe is a good call and I agree he’d maximise Becchio’s potential contribution to the team. I just have this sneaky feeling that a loan deal for Becchio is waiting to be done. It’s difficult to believe how many Leeds fans claim not to want him back, can’t help feeling a lot of this is empty-headed bravado.

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  23. Pete Wilding

    I do believe in never go back they left us for a reason so life goes on there are plenty of players out there its just getting the right ones another forward and of course a winger lets see if the board back BM i do hope so and lets see the boys back in ghe promised land where they belong may our great run continue and as long as we dont lose away Saturday thats better than whats been happening to dates up the whites.

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  24. dansdad1919

    Well I’d take him back, proven goalscorer, the key would be good service while staying strong at the back, the new boy looks good.
    MOT

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  25. Definitive no to Beccio coming back. He scored a lot of goals when we were playing long ball. That was a while ago and I don’t think he’d contribute to the different style we’re trying to play. Nor do I think he’d be match fit until the end of the season and I doubt he’s improved since he left, more likely faded. Tommy Rowe is a go as far im concerned. His contracts up at the end of the year so he should be cheap and he’s playing at left back now but is a natural winger so would fit into wing back nicely. The other priority for me was a solid and experienced centre back to help lead and improve our young defenders. Although its too soon to say for certain, Zaluikas seems to fit this description and could prove a blinding freebie if he can play like he did on Saturday.

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    • How exactly is your “no” definitive? Do you mean to say it settles the matter finally, for everyone?

      That’s quite an ambitious position.

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      • Perhaps, or possible auto spell error for the word definite. I don’t worry about it anyway, Norwich don’t want to seem to let him go despite him only playing 13 minutes this season. They’re hedging their bets when it comes to strikers and I think they want to hold on to him as a safety precaution in case they do get relegated. So do you have anything to say about football or just comments on spelling mistakes?

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      • Plenty mate. Stick around and continue your education.

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      • Yes, I shall come here if I need educating on how not to react to criticism or different opinions or how to kiss arse when I get some positive feedback. Or education on how to drool over a single only female response which I can tell you have had plenty of practice at.

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      • What ARE you babbling on about, you ridiculous little person.

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  26. I reckon all three of the aforementioned have realised the error of their ways. I just hope Becchio is given the number ten shirt.

    Like

  27. Pingback: Viduka's Quartet | Luciano Becchio: A Pivotal Cog in The Norwich Machine?

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