Leeds United In Double Swoop on Free Agent Market – by Rob Atkinson


Essaid Belkalem – bargain?

Now that the option of emergency loans after the transfer window closure is no longer available, Leeds United will have to look elsewhere to make up for their shortcomings in the regular market. The squad as it stands is neither strong nor deep enough to inspire confidence in the club’s ability to be competitive towards the top end of the Championship between now and the January transfer window – so, without the option of loaning contracted players, United will be forced to scrape the very bottom of the barrel: those players that, up until now, have been unable for whatever reason to secure a professional playing contract for this season.

Leeds have been accused often enough in the past of shopping at Lidl instead of Waitrose, looking to spend as little as possible whilst capitalising on their own home-produced young talent. It’s an accusation that stands up quite well to an examination of the evidence; of all the current Championship clubs, the Whites have been the most niggardly net spenders over the greater part of this century. But it seems that things are getting worse; having failed to secure even a bargain buy in areas where the team needs strengthening (I submit attack AND defence, m’Lud), United somehow contrived to release their club captain Sol Bamba the day after the transfer market closed down. Bamba had been in appalling form, and personal reasons were cited; still, it seems rather careless when you consider that our senior central defensive section now comprises Liam Cooper and two loanees.

Obviously, we did sign one player on deadline day – Eunan O’Kane from Bournemouth was welcomed to the club, where he becomes our 17th or 18th central midfielder – frankly, I’ve lost count. The club also failed to offload any deadwood in that engine room part of the squad – you might say that we now possess an embarrassment of poverty there.

So now, we’re reduced to looking among the players nobody else wants. From shopping at Harrods around the turn of the century, we’ve lowered our sights continually, down through Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, the basic own-brand of Asda, the bargain aisles of Aldi, right down to the dubious delights of Lidl. And now – well, it has to be the rubbish bins behind B&M and Home Bargains, doesn’t it? How very depressing.

Then again, it’s quite surprising what you might find when rummaging about in this professional footballer detritus. The name of Kieran Richardson has cropped up, released at the end of last season by Aston Villa, and with some half-decent clubs on his CV, as well as manchester united. I’ve put the case myself for giving Luciano Becchio a crack at being striker cover in case Marcus Antonsson gets injured or Chris Wood grinds to a complete halt. And the wild card among current rumours has to be Essaid Belkalem, late of Trabzonspor in the Turkish league among others. Belkalem is an Algerian international who was on Watford‘s books last season, and he’s said to be looking for regular football to push his claims for further representative honours.

Something clearly has to be done, though, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a couple of deals being sealed in the not too distant future, with Richardson and Belkalem the likely names on the contracts. That would shore up the defence somewhat – but we’d still be short, in this blog’s opinion, of sufficient strength in depth up front. Then again – you can’t have everything.

Particularly not when you’re rooting through the refuse bins at the bargain end of the market.

9 responses to “Leeds United In Double Swoop on Free Agent Market – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Be hip is too old now , the guy could n t even cut the mustard at Rotherham


  2. sadly you talk too much sense…mot ttgm


  3. So this is going to be the season we make the big push for the playoffs. This is going to be the season our Mr Cellino has been gearing himself up to. This is going to be the season all the doubters, all the defeatists, all the sceptics, all the hang him out to dry brigade are going to be proved absolutely wrong. This is our glory push for the top. We’re this to happen, Cellino would be hailed as the ultimate, the most revered, the man made genius of British Football and his achievement would eclipse that of Leicester City. Not only would he have done the unthinkable but he will have done it with what we now refer to as the biggest bunch of footballing misfits in the country. A mismatch of unwanted second rate players, a club where team selection is drawn out of a bag of balls by a coach who is dreaming the dream and living the nightmare. A club hated by all and sundry, a club treated with the utmost contempt from the media and even our own FA.
    This is what comes across when you read the tabloids, when you listen to the pundits, when you read the comments of our own fans. We are the most tormented, the most punished, the most psychologically damaged football fans in the professional world and yet we STILL care. We still turnout, damn it we even take the Mickey out of ourselves. If there was a league for The Best Sense Of Humour then Leeds United would be untouchable. Elland Road is the Field Of Dreams, the City Varieties, and boy, do we love it. Onwards and Upwards guys. MOT😂😂😂😂😂


    • I’m afraid Charlie Taylor will be used to pay for the season ticket refunds in may. Just been looking at the Cellino piece on the ” To Ell and Back” site and i realised how bad it actually is. Isn’t Kieran Richardson a midfielder too? If so he may as well stay on the bargain shelves in lidl. We need someone to regularly find the back of the Netto.


  4. Bellusci should be recalled, if there is a release clause. Between November and March last season, he was one of the Division’s top central defenders. Sure he cost us a few points – principally I suggest due to being caught out due to his size by long balls – but these were far outweighed by his strength, positioning, courage and skill with the ball. Personally I would have made him my captain.


  5. Point taken Rob, but a bit unfair at this stage both to Monk and the new intake of players. Let’s see where we are after the next international break.
    I personally don’t agree with all these calculations about how much we have spent on players or should have spent.
    My guess is the club is running at a loss and even at a small profit, this does not equal cash flow.
    Ten years of misery makes for acute criticism. However, If we beat Hudders and Blackburn then attitudes will change. If we don’t then Monk is in serious trouble having had most of the players for a fortnigh,t and with good reason regarding his coaching credentials.
    I hope it all works out and we are excited and pleasantly surprised come Christmas because Evans is doing a lot of talking and hovering like a vulture just waiting to drop down and pick over the carcass of Monk’s body! I just wondered at the time why he didn’t take the Oldham job!


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