As a statement of intent and a welcome expression of loyalty, Leeds United skipper Ross McCormack’s tasty little soundbite towards the end of the season would take some beating. “I think about the feeling of being at Elland Road on the last day of the season, winning promotion and being captain,” said United’s 27 year old, 29 goal top-scorer. “That would surpass just playing in the Premier League for any old club and I don’t say that lightly.”
It was indeed a weighty statement, neither to be made nor taken lightly. McCormack was letting us know of his burning ambition to play at the highest level, whilst at the same time telling us that it would take a special club to tempt him to do this in any other but the white shirt of Leeds United. Ross is happy here, he can see himself achieving much at Elland Road – if the club’s ambition is seen to match his own. And if not, then he is well enough aware of his own value as a potent striker to be sure that he could command a move to another club in the same bracket, reputation-wise, as Leeds.
All of which on-the-record disclosure makes me feel that the rumoured interest from Newcastle might be just the start of what could develop into a bit of a clamour for Mr McCormack’s valuable services – that’s if his one-to-one with Signor Cellino has left him thinking that his future would be best spent elsewhere. If he is to leave, then this one rumoured bid could spark off an auction – with, presumably, more feasible suitors waiting in the wings.
It’s not as if McCormack will necessarily be on the radar of the “Big Four”, after all – but you’d have thought there might be interest from the likes of European make-weights Spurs and Everton, just below that élite level and pushing hard. To see our Ross go to a Newcastle or a Man U or a Southampton, though, would be somewhat perplexing. Such a transfer would put him smack in the middle of the “any old club” territory that he’d appeared conclusively to rule out. There are even rumours of interest from yet further down the food chain, with relegation fodder West Ham and Joke League Champions Glasgow Celtic reported to be sniffing around.
As far as this week’s alleged bidders Newcastle are concerned, they do have prior form as stalking horses. Their enquiry to Everton about the availability of Wayne Rooney led directly to the then-effective forward making his move to Man U – back when they were a leading club. So you may well surmise that mention of the long-trophyless Geordies, as prospective employers of the talented McCormack, might spark more serious interest among bigger, more serious clubs.
The more you look at it, then, the less likely it might appear that McCormack will end up in those oddly humbug-esque black and white stripes. And if he did go to the Wonga Stadium, you’d have to question his motivations – an area that he’s been at some pains to elucidate to those of us Leeds fans out here who have looked for ongoing reassurances of his commitment to Elland Road. Has it become a case of any Premier League port in a storm for Rossco? Or is he actually still committed to achieving success at the club to which he’s time and time again reiterated his loyalty and commitment? This blog thinks we should be informed.
Time, as ever, will eventually tell. One significant factor is the length of time left on our leading scorer’s contract. That would tend to drive the price upwards should an auction commence – and then it would rapidly become a question of where lie the best interests of Leeds United Football Club.
And whatever the priorities and motivations of Mr Ross McCormack – whatever the level of interest out there from Premier League clubs of whatever status and calibre – it is those best interests of our beloved Whites that should be the deciding factor. Not even our top goalscorer, our heart-on-the-sleeve inspiration in that No. 44 shirt, is bigger than the club – and that, my fellow vile animals, is the real bottom line.