Leeds United’s Ambitious Transfer Plans Can Transform Club’s Fortunes – by Rob Atkinson


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Abel Hernández – possible Leeds addition?

Leeds United are talking the talk, so it is reported, ahead of what could and should be a busy summer transfer window. The question now, assuming that we believe some of the tempting names being bandied about, is: can they actually walk the walk, delivering signings that will radically reshape the squad ahead of yet another season outside the top flight?

On the pessimistic side of this debate, it has to be said that, after the past several years, we’re getting used to “having our expectations managed” (some would call this “being lied to”). Time and again, transfer windows have opened to the accompaniment of earnest declarations of intent and ambition – only to slam shut again with promises unfulfilled and the squad either not noticeably stronger, or sometimes actually weakened. It’s annoying and frustrating – but maybe, just maybe, that won’t happen this time. So far, after all, under the stewardship of Andrea Radrizzani, more actual money has been spent on transfer incomings than for many a season past – though much, if not all of this could be said to have been funded by high-profile departures like Chris Wood. You might even argue that our cash has been flashed, not wisely, but too well – yet the real problem for United has been the stifling effect of the club’s wage structure, effectively ruling out many of the better performers, who sordidly insist on going to clubs where they’ll get more money.

So, looking on the optimistic side now, it’s mildly encouraging at least to hear whispers that the upper wage limit might just be less parsimonious this time around. That, if true, would provide a whole new dimension of possibilities for United’s recruitment process, in that we’d be able to attract a better quality of player – in theory, anyway. Some of the names mooted would seem to suggest that such a loosening of the salary purse-strings may indeed be under consideration. Both Abel Hernández of Hull City, and Birmingham ‘keeper David Stockdale currently command salaries that would have put them out of United’s reach in previous windows. But now, both are being talked about as serious prospects, with respected Yorkshire Evening Post reporter Phil Hay being quite clear that there is some substance behind the Hernández story. This surely indicates that a change of policy in terms of wages could indeed be possible.

By common consent, the Leeds squad needs significant surgery this summer, with some drastic snipping needed as well as some high quality grafting. Getting rid of what has been judged unhealthy excess flab in the squad may be a task in itself, with some unwisely lengthy contracts having been lavishly handed out during last summer’s mainly bargain basement splurge. And, clearly, the desperate need for quality in several areas of the park will not be met on the cheap. Or, at least, we’ll have to hope that the powers that be are not daft enough to suppose that it can.

On the face of it, the recruitment of Hernández and Stockdale would represent a hell of a good start, with perhaps the return of Kyle Bartley and a new deal for our tyro left-back Tom Pearce, a player who made such an impact towards the end of the season just gone, into the bargain. There are other noteworthy names in the mix, some of whom might appear more likely than others. But, overall, if only half of the possibilities being spoken of actually came to fruition, with a bit of dead wood clearance too, the Leeds squad would have a distinctly leaner and fitter look about it come August, and quite possibly a more generous smattering of quality. And that would be nice.

Always assuming, of course, that we’re not being toyed with yet again, having those expectations ruthlessly exploited and then dashed, for the umpteenth time. But, surely – they must know they can’t get away with that again, not and keep the 30,000 crowds coming, anyway. They really must know that – mustn’t they?

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10 responses to “Leeds United’s Ambitious Transfer Plans Can Transform Club’s Fortunes – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Philip of Spain

    In short Rob,personally,after years of promise and regardless of all speculation,I won’t be happy until I see a picture of these targets holding up white shirts with their names on it.b

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  2. Can’t help thinking groundhog day Rob. In terms of spending we are talking peanuts when you look at the big picture. Success is now bought, it’s not natured, home grown and allowed to blossom like it used to be. It’s like life in general, no more working for 25 years with a gold watch and a pension at the end. We are all numbers on a lottery ticket.
    I’m convincing myself this season will a new beginning and that Radrizzani has woken up to reality and listens to those who really know what this game is all about. We deserve it, we have paid for it, we have strained every sinew and nerve in our bodies screaming for it Many of us are in our twilight years now and wonder sometimes if we will live long enough to hit those heights again.

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    • Life is LUFC

      I agree with every word you have said Popeye. I too dream and hope for this coming season.

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    • Leeds Bjorn

      Spot on popeye , us old uns want it sooner rather than later, we’ve waited long enough and time is slipping by.

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  3. Can we please sign 11 josh Warrington’s showed more passion and pride in 12 rounds than are club have in years a big thank you from me

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  4. Kevin Weston

    Correct again Rob, like many others I have supported the club through the Bates, GFH and Cellinio years and hoped that through AR we would finally be getting somewhere. We went backwards last year and I am hoping that he will learn from his mistakes. If we raise our pay structure then we might compete although with the parachute payments it is not an equal field. Brum are having to get rid of Stockdale as they cannot afford his wages reportedly £45000. Harry (give me the money and I will get you promoted) Redknap is long gone. I know for a fact that Derby are having to cut costs along with a few others. AR’s honeymoon period is over and its now time to deliver more than hope otherwise for many of us it might be time to walk away (wife looks at me and says “Yeah right”), i may have said that several times before. Anyway its time for more than hope, at least I am lucky enough to have seen the great team of the 70’s live and beyond, its now time to deliver.

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  5. Tim Campbell

    With our Polish Midfielder and theoretically our Japanese one coming onboard this coming season we perhaps have an abundance of choice in the middle of the park. Having one full season in the hard as nails Championship will have also benefited both Alioski and Saiz. With Forshaw in the middle of the park too, competition for places will be red hot!
    It is defence and up front that needs major surgery. Hernandez would be a real coup if we could convince him to sign on the dotted line, but for me the MUST have transfer this Summer is the return of Kyle Bartley to the club. Jansson and Bartley formed a formidable partnership and I’m sure Pontus would be champing at the bit to have that reunion once again.
    Young Bailey Peacock Farrell has shown he is confident to fill that No1 Keepers jersey if called upon, but proper competition and backup is needed.
    Beradi (when fit) has become a bit of an issue, with his temperament questionable at the very least. Whether young Pearce can fill the left back position for a full season is any ones guess, but the kid has talent to burn, that much is clear.
    It still feels like an uneven playing field with these relegated Premiership clubs being ‘rewarded’ for being part of that club, but it is what it is and like most Leeds supporters I look forward to the wheeling and dealing over the Summer and thereafter for the coming season. Surely 2018/19 must be better than the mediocrity we endured in the season past🤔

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  6. wetherby white

    Agree totally that the ruinous wage cap policy is one of the main reasons why we fail to compete with most of out major rivals. 11th biggest spenders last year while having the biggest home and away support in the league..pathetic! Parachute payments or not, if we cant attract/pay the likes of Mcburnie, Bartley etc..then we shall continue to trundle along in lower mid-table obscurity. Why are we even being linked with Jerry whatshis face from Capri, a man his own club president cant wait to sell to us??! Lower foreign league and poor scoring and injury record-isn’t it about time the club put this ridiculous story to bed? Radz has a lot of work to do and after the dogs dinner of last season, the time to do it starts now. Were stuck with the witless Orta (even pictures of his duffel coat piss me off) but surely last seasons buy in bulk and cheaply has to be binned. Like some of the other posters today, I’m getting to an age now where I’m thinking that I will be eligible for a bus pass to ER before we finally get back to the promised land.

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  7. This has to be our biggest transfer window since relegation from the Prem League as I believe we have an owner in Andrea who really wants success as shown by how much he has already invested in buying back ER but also a a big spend on players albeit poorly spent.
    This window will confirm for sure how big both his ambition & wallet truly are. Also be very interested to see if he can put a Wolves like structure in place as he boasted he would on social media.
    IMO we need at least 6 quality signings to compete for a top 6 finish perhaps bringing through a few U23s too.
    I think a top 6 finish would be a great achievement and keep the fans belief whilst buying Andrea more time for his 5 year plan to bring players through the academy structure.
    One thing for sure there can be no more empty promises and a poor window will reflect in the crowd sizes.

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  8. Mick Harrison

    2016/2017 season we had a big ,physical,strong squad,the spine of that team (Wood,Bartley,Green,Taylor) departed and we replaced with diminutive,weak technical players(Alioski,Saize)who along with Hernandez,Roofe etc , could not cope with the physicality of the Championship.We must ensure that our recruitment this summer includes players with the height,strength and physicality to cope,players such as a returning Bartley and Hernandez from Hull would be step in the right direction and a expanding wage structure puts us within reach of getting the right players.

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