All the attention today will be on Elland Road to see whether or not Jermaine Beckford makes an appearence, but with his transfer clearly inevitable, I thought we should look deeper at the stats of his possible successors.

After one user criticised my earlier post claiming that the Beckford to Newcastle deal was done, I feel I should first clarify my position on this. I still believe the deal is done, but it’s simply a case of crossing the i’s and dotting the t’s. Jermaine Beckford clearly made that statement saying he was going to Newcastle, or else the club would have dismissed it by now. It’d be stupid of them not to as any other potential suitors would go elsewhere if they believed (as it appears) the deal is already as good as done. I guess today will reveal a lot, but a company like Goal.com aren’t going to make quotes they can’t back up or court-case happy, Ken Bates led Leeds United would be sending the lawyers round.

Anyway, back to the point at hand. I’ve compiled a table of stats for the four strikers the bookies are favouring to replace Beckford. The appearences and goals are league games only and for the club they are currently signed to.

    Apps Goals GPG
Jermaine Beckford Leeds United  105 63 0.6
Gary Hooper Scunthorpe United 62 31 0.5
Aaron McLean Peterborough United 115 55 0.48
Lee Barnard Southend United 73 35 0.48
Billy Sharp Sheffield United 53 8 0.15

It’s worth noting that Billy Sharp’s record away from Sheffield is a lot better. His average goals per game ratio at Scunthorpe United for example was 0.64, which is better than that of Beckford’s at Leeds. Similarly, whilst he’s been on loan at Doncaster Rovers he’s managed a record of 0.625 goals per game. It just seems that at Sheffield United, he’s never really been able to perform as he can.

Looking at the stats with that in mind, it’s quite obvious why these are the players the bookies are favouring. Leeds United need to replace Beckford with someone capable of one in two. They’re more likely to invest in someone of a relatively young age, which is why 21-year-old Hooper was 2/1 favourite the last time I checked. Leeds United will also need a player capable of peforming in the Championship, and since Hooper is already at that level with struggling Scunthorpe, he ticks all the right boxes. You don’t have to be a professional scout to be able to see the list of criteria required by Leeds, but the one thing no one has really considered is cash.

We’re all assuming Beckford will go for somewhere in the region of £2m. I aren’t convinced Scunthorpe would part with their star-player for such a price, especially since his departure would almost certainly seal their fate as one of the relegated teams from this years Championship. Whilst Hooper is my preferred choice of replacement, the big questions are whether we can get him for the same (or less) than we get for Beckford, and will Bates be willing to add further funds if not?

A quote from Hooper yesterday, in response to the speculation has been interpreted differently by many fans, but for me, it signals his willingness to join Leeds;

“I want to stay at Scunny, but it will be in the back of everyone’s head that I will be going there.

“But I am staying at Scunny and playing at Derby tomorrow hopefully.

“I would be keen (to stay) but if a big club comes in, you never know.”

Given we’re the only team I’m aware of being linked with Hooper, the big club must be us. Maybe it’s years of supporting Leeds that’s made me cynical, but when a player refuses to catergorically rule out a move away from a club, it tends to mean he’s leaving, which is exactly what he’s done here. The door is wide open and this is a screaming invitation for Simon Grayson to collect.

Billy Sharp meanwhile is a definite option. Out of favour at Sheffield United, so undoubtedly available on the cheap. He’s also young and as I pointed out above, he has got a 0.6+ ratio away from Sheffield. He’d tick all the right boxes not only in terms of playing criteria, but also in terms of cost, which would undoubtedly make him Bates’ favourite and give him an edge over the others.

Billy Sharp and Gary Hooper then clearly leading the way, but Aaron McLean and Lee Barnard are good outside shots. That said, this is Simon Grayson whose transfer dealings have never been done publically. Very little was heard about Max Gradel before he signed on the dotted line, so an unexpected striker like the earlier linked Steve Davies from Derby shouldn’t be ruled out. Should make for an interesting few weeks anyway!

  • Craig

    As I’ve said on previous posts Hooper would be my first choice every time, young, strong, good in the air and proven at CCC plus only 21 he has s bright future, other than Barnard I think he’d be the cheapest buy, Sheff UTD would want a nice chunk of the £2m they paid for sharp whereas Hooper would cost maybe £1m range. It wouldn’t surprise me though if it was Barnard we got as he’s out of contract in the summer so he would be cheap and we all know cheap is good for Bates

  • Ian McShane

    I’m not sure which of these guys I think will do it,Gary Hooper does sound good doen’t he.
    By the by another informative well written article,thanks.

  • Woody

    My choice would be Wayne Rooney :0)

  • phil baguley

    What about Big Enoch, could he step up to the plate and score the goals that lead us to the Championship and further?

    • Lez

      Erm, in a word …. No. What worries me here is that we clearly need to replace his goals, don’t think well replace 30+ a season, but we also need to replace Beckfords pace. That is his best asset and scares the bejesus out of defences. With a distinct lack of real pace in the permenant squad Grayson needs to address this quickly should beckford move on this window which it would seem, will indeed be interesting today.

  • lufcboy

    How about Richard Brodie from York would be cheap. But why not just go with what we have I think Grella and Kandol could fill the void until we get promoted. MOT

    • derbyshirewhite

      It would be nice to think we could swap in some existing players but neither Grella nor Kandol have shown they can make a real impact from the start of a game. In fact when they both started against Accrington we looked toothless. Lets have Hooper.

  • Harry

    Just to add to the point about Billy Sharps record at Sheff Utd. In an article this week Sean O’Driscoll, the Doncaster manager, heaped praise on his contribution, attitude and all round play for Doncaster this year and made the point that Sharp turned down loans at bigger clubs because their style of play didn’t suit his game. Both Scunthorpe and Doncaster, where he has prospered, try to get the ball down and play good football. Not sure we could say the same for the Blades with the likes of Blackwell and Robson in charge.

    Also, on the money side, if it was common knowledge that we received £2m for Beckford you can guarantee that Sheff Utd, Scunthorpe or Peterborough would be looking to take the whole lot off our hands for their players (Southend wouldn’t be in such a strong position re Barnard). This is why SG / Bates like to do their transfer business in secret, which is something I agree with – only announce deals when they are signed, sealed & delivered. You may be right that Newcastle have met the valuation for Beckford but SG’s criteria for the sale is an acceptable offer AND a suitable replacement, I suspect only the first part has so far been agreed.

  • paull

    Can I just say that I hope everyone gets behind the whole team today. This should be a welcome home party for our best result in years so let’s celebrate our hero’s and leave the controversy surrounding Beckford for another day. Today we should be holding a party that they can hear in Manchester. Come on you whites MOT.

  • Old Billy White

    I think it’s a bit harsh to judge Grella, without giving him a run in the team, it’s always difficult to come in and try to impress in one game. I think his control and passing are good, and I think he will try his socks off a) To cement a place in the team b) because of the USA world cup squad.
    If we had lost Beckford outside the transfer window we would have coped, maybe we don’t have a 30 goal a season player without him, however the goals could be spread around more. To be honest I don’t care who scores the goals as long as we go up.
    All this speculation about replacing Beckford from outside smacks of people fearing we are a one man team. We have a great team spirit and I think the players we have, have done tremendously well so far and I have faith that they will see the job through, with or without new signings.
    Hopefully a good atmosphere today, (if I can get through the snow), and focus on getting behind the team, not the side issue of JB. As I’ve said before if he’s going good luck to him, thanks for the goals and go sooner rather than later!

    • Harry

      Whilst I think it would be far too risky to let Beckford go without replacing him I would also like to see Grella given a chance, especially after his two late goals against Kettering. If Beckford is replaced and Kandol is ahead of Grella in the pecking order, as seems to be the case judging by SG’s recent substitutions, then why not send him out on loan to a mid-table L1 club. It would be an opportunity for him to show what he can do and he might also score a few against our promotion rivals in the process. He’s never had a decent run of games in the English league and it would probably do him the world of good.

      • Colin

        Yep, give Grella a chance to prove himself. We offered him a contract earlier this season so Grayson must have rated him. If in games, Grella gets bullied around then use Kandol as a substitute to use his height and strength advantage.

  • MikeLufc

    My guess is Becks will be playing today and getting another brace to add to has saleability.
    He has done wht he was paid to do, he owes us nothing except thanks for the chance to escape windscreen fitting.
    He is entitled to better himself and should not be booed.

    • danny

      boo him like fuck so he goes we need a goal scorer

      • Old Billy White

        If he’s on that pitch in a Leeds shirt, don’t you want him to do well and score? I don’t like any Leeds player being booed, it just doesn’t seem right to me.

      • paull

        But how will getting on his back today help the team? This should be the biggest party we’ve had in years MU 0 Leeds 1.

        • paull

          Sorry old Billy my reply was meant for danny

          • danny

            well done last week leeds by the way you were very good

        • Old Billy White

          SPOT ON!

    • chris

      beckford will definately not be playing today. if we really wanted to keep him why dont we offer him the contract he wants. to be fair where can we find a suitable replacement that will score goals like he has ? if we are the big club we keep saying we are, then beckford or anybody would be dying to come to leeds, even in league 1.

  • danny

    im black and white and word out of st james now is 2million for beckford 1.5 million for snodgrass and nile ranger going n loan to elland road rangers shares the same agent as beckford

    • Pete

      Danny, if Snodgrass goes to your lot, I’ll walk around white hart lane in a Gooner shirt in two weeks time.

    • Darren Bilbie

      In your dreams Newcastle Town in your dreams. Snoddy is worth twice the price of Beckford

    • Harry

      £1.5m wouldn’t get you Snodgrass’s jockstrap.

    • Old Billy White

      Sounds a bit like people putting 2 and 2 together and getting 5. (which in South Shields would get you an A*).

  • Darren Bilbie

    We’ve lost bigger players than this and coped very well. He only gets glory the rest of the team deserve. It would be more of a problem for LEEDS if snoddy was to leave. And lets hope Beckford goes on to be as good as all the other greedy big ego players who have left this fantastic club and done nothing.

  • Harry

    One thing to come out of all this is the need for Leeds to learn their lesson and not let the best players get to the last year of their contracts. I’m sure Beckford would have happily signed a 4 year deal in summer 2008 in which case we wouldn’t be in this situation. This summer the likes of Snodgrass, Howson, Kisnobro & co should all be tied up on long term deals with incentives for promotion to the PL. I fully understand and support the way the club has carefully managed the finances over the last couple of years but if we are a debt free CCC club pulling in 30,000 a week the time will have come to step-up a gear. After all letting your best assets walk away for free can never be good business.

  • chris

    other than beckford, who else do we need to sign this month. if we arent careful the transfer window will be over sooner than we think if we get wrapped upin this beckford talk. whatever happens we need to go up this season ! so there must be other areas of the team we need to look at, the keeper being the most obvious to me

    • Craig

      Only thing is is we don’t know how much he was demanding, he must be on a fair wage and supposedly wants a lot more than our salary cap allows, I’d presume that would increase in the summer but he must still want more than that expected cap would be of surely SG and KB could entice him to stay and promise him the wage he wants bases on promotion so I suspect that his wanted wage must be do inflated that it’ll be more than nxt yrs cap?

  • Andrew Crossland-Page

    Nobody has mentioned any thoughts on this supposed £2 million figure we supposed to be getting for Beckford. The line that has continuously come from Elland Road since this whole saga began was that we would only sell buckford for ‘silly money’. £2 mill is not silly money for someone scoring 30 plus goals a season so why is this suddenly an acceptable figure?

    • Lewis g

      because hes out of contract at the end of the season and has also expressed his desire to leave therefore would be unhappy to continue playing at leeds so would put even less effort in and probably become a bench warmer

  • James Morris

    I think Beckford will play today.. I hope he scores a hat trick as a nice parting gesture. I heard somewhere that Becks wanted 10k per week and we all know what happened to players that wanted that kind of money. They are playing for Swindon and Charlton now. I think we should sign Gradel and Hooper with the money we get from Beckford and offer Kisnorbo a 1-2 year extension as his contract expires at the end of next season.

  • Lewis g

    not saying id want him but there are rumours of mark viduka returning to the club until the end of the season

    • Harry

      I think that this is unlikely as all the people around in Viduka’s day have have now left the club so the only contact he has left is the lady in the canteen who baked all his pies, and hopefully she is not on the transfer committee anymore now that Risdale has gone.

      • paull

        Mmmm does that mean there are spare pies?

        • Pete

          There’s probably still a supply left from when Viduka, Ricketts, Butler and Gregan were around…

          • Colin

            I think there’s still some old biscuits left as well in the cupboard marked T. Brolin

        • Harry

          Unfortunately not, Robbo’s been keeping her busy this season

    • Sir Quej

      lol

  • TheReaper08

    Good article and great to see some fact based states, that is what’s required and makes a mockery of those that don’t respect Beckford because he can’t trap the ball etc. etc.

    Moving on, the message given out by Hooper yesterday is certainly an interesting one, in my humble opinon it at least invites an offer.

    As for Sharp I am not so sure, is it the style of play that inhibits him or the greater expectation put on him by the blades. If there was to be a second choice it would be McLean who’s record is just short of Beckfords.

  • Colin

    No team sheet as yet but it looks like Beckford will start if you listen to the bookies.

    Beckford is 5/2 to score first, next is Kandol at 4-1.

    • Colin

      should have said Becks is 5/2 favourite by the way

      • Colin

        Team sheet just out. Beckford is starting!! Going to be interesting!

        • Pete

          I reckon we’ll see a big effort today – he wants to show the barcodes that he can perform under pressure.

          • Colin

            I really really hope he doesn’t get stick from the fans, but I can see him getting some real stick today.

  • Colin

    One hot rumour that I reckon could have some weight is that Grayson is that Beckford goes to Hull with Caleb Folan coming to Leeds.

  • Geordie

    Hope you guys get a good win today and by the way why are so many people convinced that JB is heading to us.
    Remember Mike Ashley is involved in this supposed transfer and he arses everything up, I remain unconvinced until the transfer is reported on SSN.

    • danny

      totally agree that fat cockney twat only knows how to sell trainers not run a football club

  • Pete

    Howson goal, 4 mins, Leeds 1-0 up.
    MOT!

  • If JB goes there won’t be a permanent signing of a replacement. Bates won’t spend the money, mark my words.

    • Geordie

      Would you swap Batesy for Ashley as your owner?