Tag Archives: loan window

Is West Brom’s Graham Dorrans the Best Option for Leeds Utd? – by Rob Atkinson

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Graham Dorrans – career revival needed

West Bromwich Albion midfielder Graham Dorrans has been tipped in some quarters to be the latest loan target for Leeds United as they look to rekindle their fast-disappearing hopes of a late push for this season’s Championship play-off places.  Rumours gathered pace earlier on Saturday when Dorrans was omitted from the Albion squad to face Man U.  The Scottish international has been frozen out of match-day involvement with the Baggies lately, but his quality is undoubted, particularly at Championship level where he made Team of the Year as West Brom won promotion in 2010.  Quality is a big issue at Elland Road just now.  It was a commodity totally lacking in the calamitous reverse to an ordinary Bolton side, along with backbone, nerve, character and grit.  Those are five characteristics any successful side simply cannot do without – Leeds came up with a consistent zero in all areas.  So the addition of pedigree in the shape of a proven creative midfielder would be welcome; though some might pose the question: just why would Dorrans wish to climb aboard what would appear to be a sinking ship?

Leeds are hardly likely to be the only club at this level who might be interested in a loan deal for Dorrans.  Nottingham Forest, as usual, have been heavily linked with the midfield star.  One thing that could possibly influence any decision on the player’s part is his friendship with former United favourite Rob Snodgrass.  The two were team-mates at Livingstone prior to Leeds’ capture of Snodgrass – so we might hope that our former wing wizard would have a quiet word with Dorrans, to our advantage – though what he might actually say is anyone’s guess.

Dorrans of Scotland

Dorrans of Scotland

Dorrans was described in glowing terms by the Guardian in 2010: “Composed, creative, combative and consistent, Dorrans is easily the best all-round midfielder seen at West Brom since Bryan Robson.”  There is little doubt that such a player – if he can recapture the form that saw him so highly-rated only a short time back that Manchester City were reportedly ready to lash out £6m on him – would be a distinct asset to a United midfield notoriously lacking in creativity over the past year or so.

Whatever the current parlous state of things in general around LS11, that quality shortfall has to be addressed at some point and, in meeting United’s need, Dorrans might well be doing himself a big favour.  Elland Road is a high-profile stage upon which a player of sufficient character can re-invent himself at a level where quality will inevitably shine.  If the rumours of Leeds’ interest are true, then a deal would probably benefit all parties.  Albion currently have a depreciating asset on their hands, the player isn’t getting game time – and Leeds are just desperate for straws to clutch at right now.

Graham Dorrans might just be that straw, but Brian McDermott will be hoping it’s not the one that breaks the camel’s back.  If Dorrans, or some other similarly-skilful midfielder were to put pen to paper for United – and then have the impact of a Kebe or a Stewart – that might just be a straw too far for the hapless camels of GFH.  Any short-term loan player arriving at Elland Road right now must be aware that he probably has a longer shelf-life at the club than McDermott himself.

Quality, backbone, grit – all those qualities mentioned above are not apparent at Leeds United right now, and they are urgently needed.  But the one vital commodity the whole place is running out of faster than any other at the moment is patience.  Just how much longer can the current farce carry on without some drastic action being taken?  GFH maintain a sulkily defensive stance.  The players’ Twitter feeds are silent and ashamed.  Signor Cellino is ranting in the Sun.  Watch this space.

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Jack Rodwell Could Be Cellino’s Latest Leeds Masterstroke – by Rob Atkinson

Jack Rodwell - Leeds United bound?

Jack Rodwell – Leeds United bound?

The identity of the fifth loanee – five is the maximum allowed – being pursued by Leeds is the subject of much speculation and now some increasingly strong internet rumours. If the Twitter chatter is to be believed, then Man City’s Jack Rodwell – young, talented, English and internationally honoured – could be about to don the famous white shirt until the end of the season.

The thing is, these days, Twitter rumours frequently do come true. Butland and Wickham – two quality recruits we would have dismissed as fanciful a few short weeks ago – were both accurately tipped in various tweets. Quality is the watchword here. We saw it in Butland against the smoggies. You can see it in Wickham just by trawling through the rage and grief on the Wendies message boards in the wake of that signing.

This influx of quality goes hand in hand with growing evidence that Massimo Cellino – FL approval doubts notwithstanding – is firmly in control at Elland Road. Another sign is the withdrawal of Enterprise Insurance’s drama-queen winding-up petition as Cellino has contemptuously paid off Flowers & Co with some loose change in his back pocket. Wages have been paid on time and in full, despite hopeful rumours in the press that the cupboard is bare down at LS11. And now, we might just be about to see the crowning glory of the Italian’s initial impact at Leeds United.

Looking at the evidence for Rodwell – he’s just what we need, and we’re now just starting to believe we can dare to dream. When Wickham signed, we were thinking, wow – follow that. And then a junior Cellino came out and said “the best is yet to come”. Rodwell is of international pedigree and would give us a fighting chance of the play-offs and advancing Cellino’s agenda by at least one season.

Could it happen? We’re likely to find out soon, this guy moves fast. Somebody else is coming in, and we can confidently expect more quality to enhance our first-choice team. Cellino appears to mean business – watch this space and get ready for a hell of a ride.

No Winger Needed for Leeds if 3-5-2 Does the Trick – by Rob Atkinson

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It seems clear in the wake of the Birmingham victory that, while Leeds don’t possess an out-and-out winger (especially since Ryan Hall seems to have tweeted himself right into the ordure), what we don’t lack is the potential for width – given the right team selection and formation.

All of a sudden on Sunday, the team looked to have clicked – doubtless the result of some hard work and hard talking during a fortnight away from the domestic routine while England took care of business at Wembley.  Birmingham were dire in the first half, but even in the second when the opposition improved, Leeds coped well, created chances and scored a lovely fourth goal.

The width came from more advanced positions for the likes of Byram and Warnock, either side of three central defenders.  Suddenly, we could start to think of the players NOT in the team, who might also have contributions to make to such a system, some of them from the bench, perhaps.  Diouf, Hunt, Varney. Possibly Dexter Blackstock if strong rumours of his imminent arrival on loan are true.

While the Forest player’s name sounds like that of a kids’ cartoon private eye, Blackstock has some pedigree and, if Brian McDermott feels he could add value to the squad, that’s a call worth backing.  It’s interesting to remember that Brian has said in the past he’d be looking for loans with a view to permanent signings in January – watch this space indeed.

Another likely arrival is that of former Hearts captain and central defender Marius Zaliukas, available on a free since his release by the Edinburgh strugglers.  Again, a central defender didn’t seem high on the shopping list a few days back, but if 3-5-2 is the way to go, we will need more numbers in central defence to cover injury and suspensions. It seems nobody has heard much about Zaliukas that isn’t good, save perhaps a slight tendency towards overdoing it on the “getting stuck in” front.  But those kind of players have always been well-loved at Elland Road.

It may well be that discussions during the international break resulted in a decision to give width from wing-backs an extended try – and that this is behind the sudden cooling of interest in wingers.  I still feel that Chris Burke from Birmingham would have been a sound acquisition, but if Plan A has changed to Plan B then our limited resources may be better used elsewhere.

It will be very interesting to see the personnel and shape on display at Huddersfield next weekend, and also whatever may have transpired in terms of recruitment in the meantime.  Another display and result to compare with the Birmingham game, and the atmosphere around LS11 could really start to perk up again.

Leeds to Recruit Again From the “Other” United? – by Rob Atkinson

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Will Keane: could he make the difference?

Rumours abound that young Man U striker Will Keane is to follow in Scott Wootton’s footsteps in furthering his career by making the cross-Pennine move from wrong side to right.  Leeds seem to have figured out a way here to keep to the letter of their commitment without breaking the bank or at least adding too many straws to that particular tottering camel’s back. The luminaries of the Pride of Devon development squad will not command lavish wages, and yet the promises of a “high profile” loan will be trumpeted as having been met; any signing from the Theatre of Hollow Myths will automatically be accepted by the Press and even some fans as high profile, regardless of whether we’ve ever heard of him before.

For those more inclined to think for themselves, though, this trend might appear a little worrying and for more than one reason.  Firstly, Premier League development squads, crammed with potential though they may be, do not necessarily produce players ready to enter the hurly-burly of Championship football.  The trouble is, many fans will see pictures of the new boy in the colours of Man U or whichever other top-flight juggernaut, and they will automatically have these expectations – expectations that the callow youth in question may not yet be ready to meet.  This is a problem which is especially acute at Leeds with its notoriously demanding support and intimidating atmosphere.

Secondly, in this particular case, we have another lad on the way back from a season-ending knee injury – that familiar nasty, the ruptured cruciates.  Too often, we appear to be linked with players who are not only trying to make their way in the game and therefore have startlingly little on their CV, but who also have these orthopaedic skeletons in their closets; the kind of injuries that raise doubts over the patient’s ability to thrive or even survive in an unforgiving environment like the English second tier of professional football.  And it’s not the first time this week that our hopes seem to have been in danger of pinning themselves to footballers with less-than-perfect medical histories.  The spectre of Davide Somma’s career, previously thought dead and buried in June, has been detected floating along the corridors of Thorp Arch this last day or so. Leeds’ immediate prospects, in their current poverty-stricken circumstances, seem a little shaky to be entrusted to playing staff fresh out of the convalescent wards.

That said, these injuries are not necessarily career-enders these days.  Somma showed plenty of class in his too-brief spell in and around United’s first team a few years back – and young Keane was the bright hope of his age group at Man U until his own agonising setback whilst on England U-19 duty.  It’s just that there’s this worry, that we’re placing all our hopes on beardless youth, or chronic injury victims, or both.

If such gambles were to pay off, then I’d be the first to hold my hand up in joy and relief because Leeds United certainly do need something right now, some injection of pace, quality, that lethal finishing ability we’ve so palpably lacked.  But as ifs go, it’s a big one and I’d feel a lot easier in my mind if the allegedly relaxed GFH purse strings could make possible one or two signings of quality and experience who have been there and done it, in cauldrons that bear comparison to the unforgiving white heat of Elland Road.  That’s the kind of high-profile needed right now – not the sort that depends on the media-hyped status of the loaning club, nor yet the kind that brings back fond memories of what a player was once able to do in a Leeds United shirt.

Nobody wishes Davide Somma restored fitness and some reprises of those terrific performances, more than I do.  And nobody would be happier to see a young lad walk in through the doors of Elland Road and carve himself a reputation in the game, to the advantage of my beloved Leeds.  It’s just such a gamble and it seems to me at the moment that gambling should be kept to a minimum.   We should instead be hedging our bets and looking for some tried and tested quality.

It’s not promotion chances we’re weighing in the balance here, after all.  Those prospects already seem dim and distant, as the club’s owners appear to acknowledge.  And yet still Leeds United have to be seen to be trying to compete as far up the league as possible. The supporters will rightly demand that, and if they don’t see that competitive edge and the work ethic that’s always expected at Leeds, then there will be a continuation of that change of mood, that downward spiral of morale which has seen the atmosphere over LS11 dying a slow death over the past decade.  That’s the real challenge for the moment – inspiring the fans to keep the faith.  And whatever attention the owners have so far paid to “engaging with the fans” and other items of PR propaganda – they don’t yet appear to have managed this feat of inspiration.  A more ambitious and realistic attitude to transfer recruitment would go a long way towards that.

Somma Time Some Way Off for Leeds United – by Rob Atkinson

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As rumours of an impending “high profile loan signing” continue to waft around Elland Road, there is also news of the possible return of an old favourite, a star that shone so bright and yet so briefly, a man who stood out as an instinctive finisher one moment and then collapsed as a serial treatment-room habitué the next. Davide Somma, powerhouse striker and ruptured cruciate victim extraordinaire, is on the brink of another comeback. Could these two rumours somehow be related? As “Private Eye” would agree, I think we should be told.

Somma appeared to have earned himself such a bright future with his gamble on the price of a transatlantic air ticket to seek his footballing fortune. A successful trial, a contract and a flurry of goals – some bearing the unmistakable hallmark of class and composure – and the world was the likeable hitman’s lobster, or so it seemed. Then, injury, rehabilitation, setbacks, the cycle of despair. His hopes shattered, his prospects doomed, Somma fell out of contract in June. And yet he’s now back at United, seeking to prove his fitness – and who knows? The dreaded cruciate injury is not the football career’s death-knell it once was. A nifty bit of key-holing and a man can be fit for purpose again. Look at Gazza. Well, maybe that’s not the best example of redemption – but he came back from a wrecked knee to play for England again, didn’t he? Of course he did.

The thing about Somma is – good though it would be to see him back at his best and bunging in the goals for Leeds United – it’s all about context. In the club’s current straits, there really is an injection of top-class ability needed, both in a supply-line of chances and a taker of them too.

The cropping-up of Somma’s name just now has to be purely incidental to more urgent requirements. It couldn’t really be that our high-profile loan will come from the physio department of the local orthopaedic hospital. We need more of a Sharp than a Somma right now to salvage the hopes of this season. And despite the seeming prevalence of them in and around Leeds United, we could do with a Burke too. Birmingham’s tricky winger looks ever more a snip at £600k, but that boat has probably sailed.

The news that Davide Somma may yet be on the verge of a return to fitness, with the potential to function as a professional footballer is good and welcome. If such a comeback from apparently career-ending injury is ultimately to the benefit of Leeds, then so much the better. But the fact that social media outlets are currently all a-Twitter with hopes that Somma might be the saviour we need right now – that surely must be a rumour too far.

The very best of luck to the lad in his latest attempt to regain fitness – and thousands will be hoping he can fulfil his early, rich promise in a Leeds United shirt. But our immediate salvation must surely lie elsewhere.

International Break is as Important for Leeds as it is for England – by Rob Atkinson

....or divided we fall

….or divided we shall most certainly fall

It’s no exaggeration to say that the next couple of weeks might very well make or break Leeds United’s season.  It’s as serious as that.  Not for any reasons of points or league placings, but to nip in the bud the deadly, creeping disease of apathy that can seize hold of a club’s supporter base and throttle all hope out of it.  Don’t get me wrong; the international break is clearly important for England too.  But all they have to do is win a couple of games at Wembley, with everything going for them and the cream of the country’s talent (such as it is) at their disposal.  Easy peasy.  Leeds United have no such simple task.  Leeds United must somehow conjure up a whole new philosophy, advance further down the road of securing significant investment and cheer up a moribund fan-base to the point where they can inspire the team again, instead of reducing it to nervy inefficiency.  No pressure, then.

Conflicting noises have come out of Elland Road this last week or so.  First we’re told that new players are on their way, but the existing squad should have won in the most hostile of Lions’ Dens.  Then there were glad tidings of “investment to take us to the next level”, but with the same breath we were told it was hard to secure such investment and that promotion was “a harsh target”.  Neither was the tantalising concept of “the next level” defined.  The next level of what?  Angry Birds?  Surely, they couldn’t have meant the next level up the league ladders, better known as the Premier League.  That is, after all, a harsh target. None of these pronouncements have come from the football side of the club, though you might be forgiven for thinking they had, what with learned opinions being offered about the capabilities of the existing squad vis-a-vis Millwall.  So confusion reigns, and the sickly stench of discouragement and resignation begins to drift among the fans in their expensive seats.  If promotion is a harsh target, they muse, aren’t these seat prices slightly harsh then?  What are we being invited to hope for, and at premium prices too?

Maybe, a mere two weeks hence, things will look better.  Perhaps, after we’ve sat and watched England cruise to qualification for Brazil 2014, we can turn our attentions back to Leeds United in a more positive frame of mind.  Will we have new faces to slot into our supporters’ team formations and post on Twitter? (Do I go traditional 4-4-2 or should I stick with the diamond? What about wing backs either side of a three in defence, eh? Hmmmm. Complicated, ain’t it.)  A couple of new faces could do a lot for morale out here, among all the armchair coaches and strategists, not to mention the galvanising effect on the team and its performances under the man who matters, Mr McDermott. And maybe there’ll be rumours of money coming into the club. There certainly should be, we’ve rarely been without them this past two years.  Rumours we have aplenty; pounds sterling, dollars or even shekels have been in somewhat shorter supply.  But you never know.  There’s no football for Leeds United for two long weeks. Surely something will happen in that time.  Perhaps even … something wonderful??

It’s to be hoped so.  The present mood out here is not positive, and the people responsible for those conflicting statements – and for what amounts to defeatist talk, dammit all – must hold their hands up for that.  If nothing else happens in the next fortnight while England’s millionaire playboys are poncing about at Wembley, it would at least be nice to see a more unified Leeds United emerge at the end of that time, singing the same song, or at least avoiding such excruciating discords.  A couple of high-class loans would do us all the power of good and maybe – just maybe – we could then go Marching On Together into the January market with a bit more hope than seems likely right now.  After all, we’re all Leeds, aren’t we?  Of course we bloody are. Fingers crossed it stays that way.

Leeds United: Mixed Messages and Fading Ambition. What IS Going on at Elland Road? – by Rob Atkinson

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These are strange days at Leeds United.  The football club is well-managed; by common consent we have the right man in Brian McDermott.  The people that matter certainly think so, for the most part. Let’s all hope the Board still agree.

We have a half-decent team and lately the emergence of another highly promising youngster in Alex Mowatt has been a real boost, offering the possibility of allowing Ross McCormack to play as a striker where he’s most comfortable.  More on that later.

We even have a personable and likeable chairman in Salah Nooruddin, who has lately been trying to issue comforting noises about investment and the further enhancement of the squad.  Salah has a couple of very important things going for him: he has a nice, friendly smile – and he’s Not Ken Bates.  This latter one really sums up his appeal for most Leeds fans after the last few years – but does Mr. Nooruddin have more positive attributes to offer even than the quality of Not Being Ken?

Well, we can but hope so.  But when he’s been a bit more vocal, as lately – coinciding with a run of four defeats – Salah’s tended to send out some pretty mixed messages. That’s worrying enough in a businessman/banker type who should really worship at the twin altars of “Inspiring Confidence in the Marketplace” and a “Having a Strategic Plan”.

The trouble is, Salah’s got recent form for appearing to heap pressure on the manager after a couple of losses – tweeting that the “existing squad” should be winning – and now he’s been and gone and said that promotion would be “a very harsh target” for this season, which some have read as a hasty attempt to take that perceived pressure back off.

All well and good, but this papering over the cracks approach just leads to more trouble, because those who are paying through the nose do want a definite idea of where the club is heading; so when people blow hot and cold like this – well, it’s disconcerting…

Any football club’s fans surely want to believe that their hard-earned cash is being used to fuel ambition, Leeds fans perhaps more than most.  So what do they think – what do WE think – when the chairman states that we can pretty much forget about promotion for the time being?  What message does it send out to the existing squad?  To potential signings who may, even now, be weighing up the club’s potential and – that word again – ambition? It’s all quite perplexing to us mere turnstile fodder – so how does it appear to a professional making a hard-nosed decision about which shop window he wishes to be displayed in as a result of any move on loan?

As I’ve said elsewhere, it might be that bit less confusing if the football people spoke on football matters, and the businessmen dealt with business.  When Nooruddin says that “promotion is a harsh target”, is he speaking from a business or a football point of view? If the former, then all well and good – get on with sorting out that investment “to take us to the next level”, which is allegedly so close.  If he’s speaking from a football point of view though, the only possible question is “Why?”  He’s not remotely qualified, after all.

If Brian McDermott feels that promotion may be a harsh target, then presumably he’s saying that in the full knowledge of exactly how much he has to play with in the transfer market.  Presumably also, he’s some idea of when any further investment might reasonably be expected.  Brian is taking his time in the market, having apparently been mandated to recruit loanees – but again, that may be because other options have presented themselves from within the club.  Ross McCormack played up front the other night and he’s been vocal since in saying that’s where he’s best deployed.  If McDermott feels he can now do that because of the emergence of young midfield prodigies from the Academy, then fine.  It would be nice to know these things, and from the horse’s mouth. We’ll listen to a football man talk football all day long.

But that’s the point – let people work to their strengths.  Let Nooruddin and Co seek to improve the financial infrastructure.  Let Brian get on with managing the team and making pronouncements about their prospects based on his professional knowledge.  Let RossCo get on with scoring some goals instead of trying to be something he’s not.  Let all that happen – and maybe the messages wouldn’t be as mixed; maybe we wouldn’t now be all a-twitter – and we ARE, many of us – about what seems like a club about to give up on the season.  That is such a terrible message to send out when people are having to scrimp and save for expensive tickets, travel, programmes and all the related shelling-out that goes on each match-day.

It’s just been such a mess in the media this week, and the win over Bournemouth has almost disappeared in the middle of it.  It shouldn’t have to be this way.  These people are professionals, all of them.  The least they can do is to try and sing from the same hymn-sheet (with due respect to the representatives of different religions involved).  But you get my meaning.  Let’s have a unified message, something we can all understand.  “We are Leeds” would be a good start.  “Onwards and upwards” is encouraging too.  But it all needs to be underpinned by the best rallying-call of all.

Marching on Together“.

Come on, Leeds!

The answer to the Leeds United goal scoring problem is a proper striker.

Another good read from Michael Green, late of ClarkeOneNil, now back in circulation on Lee Chapman’s Sofa, as it were. This article presents the case for Luciano Becchio of blessed memory as a “proper striker” as opposed to the frontmen we have now. The dissertation on what constitutes a “proper striker” is compelling stuff; Becchio’s scoring rate towards the end of his time at Elland Road certainly begs for his inclusion in that category, yet those goal-scoring instincts don’t appear to have served him well at Naaaaaaarritch Ciddy. And yet I remember that instinctive movement that enabled him to score at the near post against Chelsea last season in the League Cup. In that instant, he looked the real deal, right enough. Perhaps he was just more at home in LS11, and didn’t know it? Now, languishing some way short of the first XI at Carrow Road, complications of wages and transfer fees have cropped up as impediments to his path back to Leeds. It’s all quite frustrating.

I’d have also argued for the “proper striker” candidacy of Craig Mackail-Smith (Brighton) – not sure whether he fits the Luciano mould, but he’s such a pest to play against for opposing defenders, and he does seem to have that knack of nipping in for a decisive last touch into the net, certainly when the opposition is Leeds, against whom he always scores. Sadly CMS is sidelined with a serious achilles injury, and at 29 you have to ask whether he’ll be quite the same player again.

Whatever the case, it promises to be an interesting next couple of weeks, with Mr Nooruddin having been smoked out to a certain extent into conceding a ralaxation of the previous “one out, one in” policy that so hamstrung Brian in the recent window proper. Meanwhile as MG suggests, the perfect candidate might just be a frustrated and under-employed Argentinian, just waiting for the chance to come back home to Elland Road. We shall see.

Could the Leeds United Chairman be Trying to Pass the Buck? – by Rob Atkinson

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“The buck stops here” is a phrase that was popularised by U.S. President Harry S. Truman, who kept a sign with that phrase on his desk in the Oval Office.  But where does the buck stop in football, and more specifically – where does it stop at Leeds United?  We don’t have a President – the last candidate for that position was bundled into a car and dispatched into exile in Monaco; he hasn’t been heard from since.  The next most likely candidate for stopper of the buck is the current Leeds United Chairman, Salah Abdulla Nooruddin Nooruddin.  Mr Nooruddin’s views on just where responsibility lies for the present state of the club appear somewhat ambiguous, as witness the tweets that accompany this article, specifically the one issued in the wake of the Millwall defeat.

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Leeds United is a football club quite unlike any other, as we all know – but it nevertheless shares some characteristics in common with more run-of-the-mill outfits. One of these foibles is that any praise or appreciation of the fans as a body of support; any suggestion from the suits at the top that the turnstile fodder at the bottom are not merely that, but are in fact salt of the earth heroes of whom the players, staff, directors and tea-ladies are in respectful awe – any such sentiment expressed at times of tension particularly, can be relied upon to go down well.  A well-timed word or two to this effect might even buy a stressed Chairman some useful time and room to manoeuvre.  It’s been done before.

That explains the honeyed words in the earlier tweets.  But Salah appears to have emitted the most recent tweet under some duress, in response to some angry hectoring from irate fans who can see this season falling apart.  And, looking beneath the surface of that tweet, it begs the question: just how wise or otherwise was this tweet?  What is Salah actually saying?

To say in so many words that the club are trying to bring in a striker AND a winger – a necessity I’m on record as specifying a few days ago – is encouraging.  We can but hope that, thus committed, Mr Nooruddin and Co will make good on this statement of intent. The rest of the tweet though is a little more problematic, with – once you start to dig – a few more layers to it.  “BUT with current squad we should have won today!!!” says Salah, plaintively.  Based on what, exactly?  The lack of width and creativity is nothing short of legendary this far into the campaign.  Squillions of pixels and fonts have been expended on setting out the extent and effect of that problem.  Leeds United are well known among those who love them as an impotent force, firing blanks; one that, to quote the hackneyed cliché, couldn’t score in a brothel.  This is why we need the early Christmas present Salah was coyly referring to.  It’s perplexing that the Chairman should so bluntly be stating that we should have won.  Who’s he blaming exactly?  The players themselves? The manager himself??  These are shark-infested waters, and Mr Nooruddin should be well enough aware of the esteem in which Brian McDermott is held by the supporters, to keep his toes safely out of them.  Such sentiments, expressed by a layman, could easily be misconstrued.

The view of the massive majority of the support is quite plain, and it sits very well with the characteristics of the modern game, dominated by big money and overseas owners, whether rich or not so rich.  The supporters, by overwhelmingly common consent, do not blame Brian for the current situation.  They do not even blame most of the players; they know there is some residual deadwood left over from the old regime, and they know that reinforcements are urgently needed.  Given all this, many – perhaps most – of the supporters will view the Chairman’s blithe assertion that the current squad, with all its deficiencies, “should have won” a highly competitive Championship away game, as somewhat naive, a little bizarre, slightly bonkers.  This is not really Salah’s area.  Salah’s area is to listen to that nice Mr McDermott, to take on board his wisdom concerning the personnel we need and then to set about obtaining those personnel with as little fuss and bother as possible and without undue delay.

That’s the role of the executive as opposed to the expert professional, Salah.  That’s division of responsibility, that’s delegation up the line.  All you have to do is make what the manager wants possible – to somehow find the money without which it’s NOT possible.  It’s a vital, pivotal role.  And that, Mr Nooruddin, is why the buck stops with YOU – so please.  Do not even think about passing it.

In Demand Icelandic Star Striker to Sign for Leeds? – by Rob Atkinson

Alfreð Finnbogason

Alfreð Finnbogason (SC Heerenveen)

Don’t shoot the messenger – this is very much a rumour.  But, there are rumours and there are rumours, and this one has the flavour of possible authenticity about it.

Alfreð Finnbogason is a full Icelandic international currently on the books of SC Heerenveen in Holland’s Eredivisie.  On the face of it, a move to Leeds United might seem less than likely, though stranger things have happened in the loan market, where normal rules are suspended, with the transfer window proper tightly shut till January. Finnbogason has been the subject of a bid in the region of £4 million from an un-named Bundesliga side, and when Celtic came enquiring after a replacement for the departed Gary Hooper, they were told to find £5 million, or go back whence they came.

On the plus side: Finnbogason seems to have a desire to play in English football; he is in a hot streak of form that has stirred interest far and wide; his wages are at a level that might not turn even a Leeds owner’s face too sickly white with shock – and, perhaps crucially, the source of this rumour came with the confident advice to slap a bet on the lad being the next Leeds United signing.

It’s a name that might take some getting your tongue around, never mind the cost of printing it on the back of a Leeds shirt should he actually roll up at Elland Road; but the strangest names can swiftly become familiar.  Pierre van Hooijdonk, for instance.  If this lad, with the pedigree he’s reputed to have, were to fill the number 9 shirt for Leeds, then the season might be about to pick up very considerably.

Alfie Finnbogason – remember the name (if you can).  He could be the subject of a breaking news story coming your way quite soon.