Leeds clear out the deadwood as Harte and Russell are linked TSS May 15, 2010 Leeds United 87 Comments After securing promotion to the Championship (albeit the hard way) Simon Grayson has wasted no time in clearing the deadwood and lining-up some new targets. If you’re to believe the most popular circulating rumours then Leeds are frontrunners for Ian Harte’s signature and have also offered Norwich’s Darel Russell a better contract than what his current club can come up with. Firstly, I’m torn on Ian Harte. I always liked him whilst he was at Elland Road (despite his non-existent defensive ability) and have been massively impressed by his goal-scoring record in 09/10. His overall performance when we came up against him earlier in the year wasn’t great, but then, I never expected him to perform miracles at centre-back. It’d definitely be nice to have a natural left-footer on the wing, and his goals would be most welcome. Age is a concern, but if he can do the business then so be it. Once again, Russell isn’t the headline making transfer I’d hoped for, but he seemed solid enough when we came up against Norwich and should be able to ply his trade in the Championship. Not a young man by any means, but for the year or two I’m hoping it’ll take to get us back to the Prem (ever the optimist) he should suffice. Although neither of these players have been confirmed as targets by Larry, I suspect there’s an element of truth to them both. They seem to fit the criteria of Ken Bates in that they’ll only need short-term contracts, won’t cost him anything in transfer fees and are a quick and easy way to pave over the cracks. I never expected a big-spending summer, but some evidence we’re looking towards the future would be nice. Finally, we come to the ‘released and retained‘ list published by the official site earlier this week. The best shot-stopper outside the Premier League (probably) will be leaving us. Casper Ankergren came to Leeds United and instantly won over the fans with some commendable performances and impressive saves. However, his inability to catch or kick the ball grew frustrating and his departure won’t surprise many. That said, I always liked Casper and wish him well. Rui Marques is perhaps the most surprising released player on the list and his relationship with Simon Grayson has to be questioned. Rui and Kis formed the strongest defensive partnership of the season and looked destined to be first choice. However, an injury to Rui and the return of Naylor saw Marques cast aside and forgotten about. Despite a massive loss of ideas from Nayl’s, he retained his place whilst Rui slipped down the pecking order. Again, I wish him well and he’ll most definitely be missed. Amongst the others leaving the club are youngsters Andrew Milne and Mike Whitwell who were both touted as potential first team material not so long ago. Simon Grayson’s decision to favour an out-of-place Andy Hughes over the talented Aidy White has often left me questioning his faith in the clubs youth structure, and it’s with that in mind I have to wonder whether that’s a big part of the reason for Milne and Whitwell’s release. Maybe I’m reading too much into it and they simply weren’t good enough? Only time will tell. Alongside those that have been released are several players who have been instructed to find another club. Andy Robinson, Alan Sheehan, Tresor Kandol and Lubomir Michalik will all be looking for a new home as Larry trims the ‘deadwood’. I’ll always remember Tres for the great moonwalk he pulled on Soccer AM after introducing himself as “TK20 – Subs bench!” None are massive shocks, but all of them have done a service for Leeds United at some point or another and will be remembered for their efforts in trying to turn around a sinking club. Seeing players leave the club is one of the hardest parts of following a football team. All of the above deserve thanks for their contribution to Leeds United FC over the past few years and I wish them all well. Unfortunately, in any area of life, success often has it’s victims. Football is no different. All that transfer talk with no mention of Jermaine? A TSS first!