Should Leeds Keep Hold of Maverick El-Hadji Diouf? – by Rob Atkinson


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Regular all-round nice guy Dioufy

He’s a rum cove, that El-Hadji Diouf.  You don’t get many like him to the pound.  At first glance, his link-up with Leeds United seemed like a match made in hell.  He was signed by a manager in Neil Warnock who had previously referred to Diouf as “lower than a sewer rat.” Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m sure I’ve heard more sparkling endorsements than that – even from the notoriously uncouth Colin.

For a while there, we very probably had the most gleaming, five-star example of the full set hate-wise.  The most hated club, with the most hated Chairman, the most hated manager, the most hated fans and the most hated player.  It rather made your heart swell with pride, and you felt that if Dioufy could be taken to anyone’s hearts, then perhaps Elland Road was the most likely place.  We are rather fond of our villains down Beeston way.

The down side of the former Liverpool man – other than his alarming tendency to get involved in trouble at the drop of a blob of phlegm – is that he doesn’t look the fittest of lads.  He’s not yet 33, and he’s got undeniable pedigree – but you’re not going to see him running past opponents too often. His main contribution to the Leeds team last season seems to have been an ability to hold the ball up in confined spaces, draw a foul and win a free kick.  There was an early flurry of goals, but it was this ball retention ability that really shone in a team which appeared quite inept in that regard.

Sadly, a few live games in the first half of the season were characterised by the commentator making a fuss about this facet of Diouf’s play, and refs seemed to be on the lookout for any possibility of being hoodwinked by the wily Senegalese schemer.  Give a dog a bad name, eh?  There were certainly quite a few occasions that I noticed where Diouf would go down with a pained expression on his face, only for the ref to airily wave play on, to approving noises from the gantry. This detracted greatly from his general effectiveness, but he still contributed to some reasonably encouraging performances in that pre-Christmas part of last year’s league programme.

Overall, I think I would say that it remains doubtful we have anyone else on the books who can use the ball in a confined space, under pressure from close markers, as Dioufy can.  Time and again, he can either slip the attention of a couple of defenders to find a man in relative acres of space, or (more often) he would gain one of those free-kicks.  Both of these gifts were invaluable to last season’s Leeds side which otherwise appeared to regard the ball as a bit of a hot potato. It’s only that telling lack of pace which limited his overall contribution.

In the home match against Brighton late in the last campaign, Diouf managed to get himself sent-off in the aftermath of a successful penalty conversion.  It appeared that he’d taken some stick from Brighton’s rather over-sensitive away support, and responded in sign language involving a too-public manipulation of his genitals, to shocking effect as far as the away crowd and sadly also the ref were concerned. A little surprisingly, this was Diouf’s first dismissal since he joined the club.  We were told that he was sorry, and that he remained committed to the Leeds United cause coming into this season (but as it’s turned out, we’ve hardly seen him since.)

So should we hang on to this mercurial talent, or not?  He’s been this season’s forgotten man and yet, since signing an improved contract, he’s taking more out of the club by far than when he was making a real impact on the first team. I would cautiously vote to retain him, unless the rumoured influx of cash really does turn out to be enough to buy someone as good as Dioufy – and maybe younger and faster.  If that turns out to be the case, then sadly it’ll be a no-brainer.  All’s fair in football and war – and there’s precious little room for sentiment.

What do other people think?  Keep him or get rid?  And if he goes – just who are the likely candidates to replace him, depending on whether we have a Red Bull sized budget, or just a tidgy little David Haigh one? Answers on a virtual postcard, please…

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31 responses to “Should Leeds Keep Hold of Maverick El-Hadji Diouf? – by Rob Atkinson

  1. EHD is not in the Whites ranks just for the money, he would be better paid in EMEA region for sure. He is needed but in what kind of role in McDs mind? Ball keeping skills, controlling the time and space if necessary are top player qualities. I would like to see him in FA Cup games at least but what comes to CS games McD seems to have his opinion in place. It is really sad that his pace is the missing ingredient ’cause he is one hell of a player which I would like to see as an mentor for players like Chris Dawson, Alex Mowatt etc…

    Tare

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  2. WHITERHINO

    He’d be first name on team sheet for me (if fit?!). If BMc only sees him as a bit part/impact player then im afraid we should let him go. Sure a system or method of play could be devised with EHD at its heart (the outlet from our defence maybe?).
    When he made a cameo against Newcastle his class shone through and above the decent array of the Toon players.

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  3. mrbigwheels

    Keep… we may well need him…imo. Long way to go. I just can’t penetrate what McD is thinking other than… Think the Manager is open to any team options from game to game until he actually sees the size of the January Cash Pile… on the table that would enable true wingers to be part of the game plan.

    ps…. am I on the new site?… possibly need specsavers. Well done but… very yellow?.

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    • It is new yes, I’ve had a major tweak. It IS a bit jaundiced, too – I’m still experimenting with colours! Might try a paler yellow – or perhaps a bit of blue. What would people think to red….? 😉

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      • mrbigwheels

        No red please. Are You already on the Red Bull?. Have tilted the screen back and the yellow becomes more solid giving depth and firm base, (now got my glasses on). Comes up well with the blue and green type and good use of bold black type at this lower page level. Upper page is not defined enough between written article text and side banners… so hits one slightly jumbled. imo. other than that, if you’re getting the following I suspect you are… sort the header to highlight the quality your written word deserves. I like regularity and reliability of weblogs and you are indeed meeting that. You asked the question, I couldn’t resist and ps…. there is no red in Leeds …at the moment. Many thanks. …..Blue/Yellow/White….. THE ONLY WAY.

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      • I love my headers! I like the font, I think it’s distinctive. Dead chuffed with my headers, it’s the rest of the blog I’m not 100% satisfied with as yet. My following is shown in the top right corner – 730-ish at the moment, but still quite early days, only been going a year on 17 Dec and only on NewsNow since late Aug.

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  4. mrbigwheels

    Tommy Rowe is my choice. Injured at Peterboro at the moment but has the pace and Wing back ability as well, not forgetting is age on his side. Mr Fry is knashing to sell him before the non renewed contract runs out in the summer. I live down this way and TR would be very keen to be part of LUFC.

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  5. I’d be surprised if EHD is seen again in an LUFC shirt. Reading between the lines either McDermott doesn’t fancy him or he’s been told to sicken him off because of his expensive wages. There were rumours the club was trying to get rid before the end of the transfer window and some of the reasons for his absence recently seem a bit ropey to say the least (ex-coach funeral, sickness bug). It’s a shame because he was one the shining light last year in a sea of dross. His performance against Everton in the league cup was superb. He hasn’t got the pace to play up front anymore but he could definitely do a job in midfield or in the ‘hole’ behind the strikers and could pass on a lot especially to the younger players. Sadly I think this will never happen because he’s on his way I reckon…

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    • My opinion here is that EHD should be installed in to Academy coach as Professional Top Player Premium Education Class -owner and give those players who has ambition to be top, top player in World Football instead of playing PS4 or Social Media connections; using time for individual personal training sessions and dedication for the cause. What does it meaning to get to the top?

      It is not coincidence that a lot of PL British youngsters do not make it (to the 1st team picture).

      Tare

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  6. I really dont think Diouf is part of Brian’s plans. He has had opportunity to play him at crucial times and has not done so…enough said.

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  7. BMcD doesn’t seem to be playing anyone who is out of contract next summer. Looks like he’s building for the future. I like that plan as long as we make decent progress in the meantime.

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  8. Im sorry, but did you just endorse Red Bull been associated with Leeds?

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  9. I love your humour Rob, Red indeed!

    As for EHD, quite a conundrum you pose, without a winger’s pace I guess he might be best deployed behind the strikers where his very evident eye for a pass could create havoc and we’re hardly the most creative outfit are we?

    However, would BMac think the same? I’d keep him for that role but what to do with Rodolph, him being captain and all.
    Perhaps that’s why I’m not a manager.

    MOT

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    • Pink has more chance than red 🙂

      I read somewhere else where BMcD seems to be avoiding playing those who are out of contract next summer, which is at least a selection strategy.

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  10. I like Diouf,i think most people like a bad boy like a Robin Friday or a Di Canio. What i find disturbing though is that It would seem McDermott doesn’t rate him yet he rates barn door varney? If HE starts tonight we’re done for.

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  11. Rob , are you experimenting with colours or acid ,, ? Lol

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  12. Only one thing better than a Leeds win and that’s a scum loss , very good night at the office rob

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    • As I’ve just said elsewhere, Carlsberg don’t make midweek evenings – but if they did…. 😉

      Fantastic night, send us more such please, whoever arranges these things!!

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  13. Should have said next best thing !!!
    Its the colours ,, blinding !!!

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  14. Get in! What a night,i see the yokels also got beaten too by suarez. Oh and the answer to your poser was -House of Cards.

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