The wild scenes at Elland Road on Saturday, followed by some hardcore partying that ran well into Sunday morning are now behind us and the focus shifts to the possible transfer targets of this summer.

Strikers

No one will be surprised to see that the biggest story today is Jermaine Beckford. The majority of Leeds United fans are already resigned to the probability of Beckford’s departure, but Simon Grayson offered some room for optimism by telling reporters that Beckford had received a new offer from Leeds United. Grayson went on to add that it wasn’t easy when the competition is from Premier League clubs (Everton, Newcastle) but he remained hopeful that the striker would stay.

I’m reluctant to say that I think he’ll leave because I said that in January (and at this time last year), but it seems unlikely that he’d turn down the chance to play for Everton to remain at Leeds. Whatever happens, Beckford should be remembered for the goal-scoring machine he was. For all the controversy, he always did what we paid him for and for three consecutive seasons, he’s been our only consistent source of goals. I wish him well.

With or without Beckford, we need some more fire-power upfront. Regular readers will remember my relentless insistence that we sign Gary Hooper back in January and he remains a likely target. The striker position is often the biggest page turner, so don’t be surprised to see us linked with everyone from Gary Hooper to Billy Sharp to Cristiano Ronaldo (not that he’d be welcome). Losing Beckford leaves us looking very weak in this area. Those that remain – Becchio, Kandol, Somma and Grella – are either unproven or fail to provide goals on a regular basis, so it’s essential that we bring one, if not two more experienced strikers into the team.

Midfield

The midfield is an area many fans have been concerned about all season. When it’s good, it can be the engine that powers us past teams in second gear, but for too long towards the end of the season it became inconsistent and offered little support to a shaky defence. That said, I don’t necessarily think we need whole scale changes. Jonny Howson remains inconsistent, but I often feel that’s because he’s left playing a position that doesn’t suit him. When sent on solely to attack like he was against Bristol, he showed us exactly what he’s capable of.

I’m not overly concerned about the midfield because I think the Championship is a different style of football that may suit some of our players more. It’s certainly not as scrappy and as rough as League One and we now have the added bonus of not being everyone else’s FA Cup final. It’s been repeated by everyone throughout the season, but what we do need is a Batty-esque type player. Someone who will mix it up and offer support to the centre-backs. Doyle’s tried to play this role, but not always successfully. Elsewhere, it’s just shedding the deadwood and adding quality depth (which applies across the entire team). I’d like to see Arsenal approached about the possibility of a season long loan for Sanchez Watt, who has shown real glimpses of class, but may not be ready for a top four Premier League side.

Defence

This seasons defence has been a story in it’s own right. From the best defence in the league to one that looks like it had never played together before, all in the space of nine months. It’s hard to say who will be able to cut it in the Championship, but my primary concern would be the full-backs. We’ve struggled in the absence of Ben Parker all season, and this should have been resolved in January.

I’ve been puzzled for a while as to why Rui Marques didn’t return to the team because him and Kisnorbo were the best central partnership we’ve had in 2009-10. Richard Naylor has been a great servant of the club, but his time must surely be up. There’s a few others too that need to be set free, so I suspect the defence will be where most of our changes are made.

Finally, there’s the goalkeepers Higgs and Ankergren. Both have served us well this season and it’ll be a shame to lose either of them, but it’s hard to see Simon Grayson not moving for a new number one. That said, both could probably play in the Championship so if the money is a little thin, we might be set for another season of watching Casper’s goal-kicks head straight into the stands.

So, long summer ahead…

I guess whatever happens this summer depends entirely on money. Anyone who thinks the majority of this team couldn’t make it in the CCC is kidding themselves – after all, this is the same team that knocked Manchester United our of the FA Cup, gave Liverpool and Tottenham a run for their money and destroyed League One for most of the season.

Whole-scale changes are unlikely and unnecessary. What we need to do is trim the deadwood and replace it with some quality and depth, but there’s a lot of players in this team more than capable of playing at the next level and it’s only fair they are given the opportunity to prove it.

  • TSS

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VClPAE8ltzI – Bates discussing Beckford. Begs him not to join “two-bob” Everton! (Kenneth a little drunk at awards party after Saturday’s game)

    • KN

      Really seems like the Evil Pr*ck so many Leeds fans think he is… Thought he was quite funny actually, loved the bit about kicking the shit out of Beckford when we get up to the Prem!

  • Pete

    Leftfield suggestion, but…Michael Brown from Pompey? No doubt he’d add steel to the midfield…

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  • Beckford’s 27 he has to follow the money. If it doesn’t work out for him in the Prem we could always loan him back.

  • superhoops

    Expect to see us flash the cash a bit. They’ve been planning for this.

  • Benjamin Bunny

    Yeh Doyle has been the Batty this season, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesnt. Will he be back next season ya rekon?

  • trueyorxman

    Doyle:NO send him back to Coventry, only seen himm play well about 4 times, admittedly one of them was Saturday. Leeds born Nick Montgomery from Sheff Utd being mentioned, he’s quality (their player of the season). We should have no trouble attracting players, we need at least 6 & to get rid of some of the dead wood/loanees etc. Looking at the Championship next season we are the biggest club in the Division. Bates doesn’t help himself either does he, I hope he apologises.

  • Matt BB

    I understand from that font of all knowledge, the mirror that Jamie Ward and Nick Montgomery are heading to leeds, to boost our attack and midfield. I also understand that Marques is tlaking to Toronto FC so obviously not part of graysons plans and he wasnt too much cop in the championship last time round. I can see defence as the one area where we will see huge change. Naylor will go, Collinns is on loan, and couldnt cut it in the championship. We also dont have any good full backs with the exception of Parker. I Imagine there will be some serious movement cash wise in this respct and remamber that Portsmounth and crystal palace will both be shedding players as they re in administration, there could be some pretty good players to pick up for nothing.

    • Pete

      Oh Christ no…I hope we can get Sharp instead of Ward…

    • Dje

      Isn’t Ward their player who is forever injured?

      • Pete

        28 starts, 3 sub appearances, 7 league goals.

        Also known as ‘pathetic’. He can’t even get into the NI side, and he tore his hamstring in the Sheffield derby.

  • Side Before Self

    I hope ward is just a rumour coz he is rubbish. Montgommery would be a good addition as would spurr of Wednesday to cover Parker. As for the deadwood, as much as im fond of some of these players, lubo, marques, crowe, Robinson, sheehan and kandol need to go aswell as grella, martin, darville and lees going out on loan

  • West Stand Rebel

    I am still pinching myself that we managed to do it on Saturday. Psychologically after nearly ten years in retreat as a footballing power success seemed to be for others. The omens didn’t look good either when part of the roof fell in a few yards from where I sit just before the kick off. Then the Gradel incident…my god that boy has a temper.
    As far as team strenghtening is concerned I think we need at least five. Two in defence and in midfield and one up front if Beckford goes.
    Let’s hope the fund manager can sell up and move offshore and that we find an owner(s) who can take us to the next stage i.e the Premiership.
    I live in hope!

  • Hotshotlorimer

    Absolutely agree re defence. Far too much deadwood.

    Lubo, Naylor, Hughes (who generally has to play there) will all have to go. Plus collins anyway. Bromby borderline but leaining towards no. Obviously have to do anything to keep Kis and, in my view, Marques should stay. Puzzled why not automaic first choice to partner Kis. Need to keep Ben and Aidy but beyond those four no proper cover who I think would all cope well, with second two being a year older, we have no one good enough.

    Midfield: Need shedding and some reloading. too many on books with too variable quality and not enough certainty over positions. Sometimes players turn up and others not at all. For Snoddy it’s been a season thing – has gone from controlling whole match tempo to disappearing over last couple of months. Johnson – looked great at start then nothing. Kilkenny – never know what’s coming. Good or anonymous – who knows? Jonny – great moments as we all know, then he’s gone. Doyle – sometimes manages the nearest we have to a holding player but same old story. And pretty much all prefer central – apart from Snoddy who more free. Need to decide who of these to go. Not easy as none consistently convincing. I’d keep Snoddy as has obvious quality as well as Jonny but after pruning would need another quality central who can allow Jonny to foray forward behind a free-role Snoddy and front two. Can’t carry them all and also need to bring in width and pace, like Sanchez-Watt who can play either side during game. Hope we can keep him for longer but if not need a genuine wide man plus a quality controlling midfielder. Talk of Montgomery apparently encouraging but not seen enough of him to judge.

    Gradel getting better and better now, despite insanity.

    Front tricky: Have to combine quality and potential: Kandol sadly must go. Becchio should stay, achieves much more than appears. I really like Grella and like to think more to come. Somma? Hard to tell. I think no more real need for change there apart from obvious Beckford replacement, probably with one of usual suspects.

    • Hotshotlorimer

      Forgot to add: Need to remember that old Ken won’t be giving that much money away. Has hungry millionaires to feed with increased income we’ll be getting. Can’t go round wasting too much of it on players – or Thorpe Arch or Elland Road or anything silly like that.
      Still, on plus side it’s just, just possible that we’ll find out who they are next season…

      • Lewis g

        i’d keep lubo and hughes.. lubo is always very strong against better opposition so would do very well in the championship imo, and hughes is a great utility player to have at the club on low wages.

        • timm

          Agree re Hughes, he’s more than capable of holding his own at a higher level.

      • timm

        Let’s wait & see shall we?

      • timm

        I don’t think it’s really fair to have a go at Bates for not spending when season only finished 48hrs ago!

        • TheReaper08

          I sincerely hope we spend some cash and buy a few, it will never be enough for some but I hope we do it.

  • Yorkshrman

    It’s easy to talk about “getting rid”, but not always so easy to do it. Those we don’t want any more are unlikely to be wanted by Champ teams, and are probably on too much money for D1 teams. Other than Beckford, does anyone know who else is out of contract this Summer …..?

    We do need some “cover” players, as well – and if players are that good, they won’t be happy sitting on the bench for much of the year. Agree with Lewis that I’d keep Lubo (or Rui) and Hughes. I’d keep Johnson as well – like to see him get back to the sort of form he showed in the first couple of months this season. Got to remember, as well, that he’s never had the chance to play in his favoured position for us – we signed him as an attacking central midfielder.

    I’m reasonably happy with Higgs in goal; if we have limited funds I think it’d be better spent elsewhere than ‘keeper. And for all his faults, I think we’d struggle to get a better back-up than Casper – unless one of the younger guys gets promoted.

    Whatever …… it gives a reason to keep logging on to “NewsNow”, watching out for the latest gossip ….!!

    • timm

      Casper, Rui, Hughesy & Beckford (obviously!) are all out of contract. I think Rui’s going to Toronto & i don’t think SG rates Casper? Which is a real shame as i think he’s every bit as good as Higgs. I’d like to see him sign Westwood from Coventry for a first choice keeper.

  • Scott Lockwood

    i think that we should try to get bogdanovic and montgomery as they are both out of contract

    • timm

      Bogdanovich looks a great player, it’d be nice to pinch him from under Sheff Utds noses.

  • Dje

    Before spending someone else’s millions, I’d be tempted to follow Grayson’s line and a have a good look at the squad he has and how they might figure in the Championship. Most of those lads were more than good enough for the first half of the season and against Man Utd, Liverpool and Spurs, and faded into nothing after New Year.

    As we played 61 games during the season there is a good argument that some of them (Snodgrass, Beckford to some extent, Johnson, Howson and Kilkenny) really did suffer from fatigue (arguably even a ‘repetitive strain injury’).

    After a few weeks away over the summer watching the World Cup in Corfu or wherever they all go these days, They may well return to training looking twice the players they have been looking since the New Year.

    Having said this, if a transfer bargain was to come up then grab it.

    Finally, I wonder if it wouldn’t be worth extending/ improving our coaching staff. If Davide Somma can go to Lincoln and utterly metamorphosis under Chris Sutton, it makes you wonder if we have some more unpolished gems kicking dirt in the reserves/ youth team. And I’d certainly like to see Somma given a fair crack now.

  • john83

    Is there any one from the academy ready to step up or have they all been sold? I’ve never thought of Leeds as a club who buys a team, putting the mania of the latter risdale era to one side.

  • dennis

    What i have read from rumours are the following:

    Hughesy to sign a pay as play contract
    Beckford has been offered a new deal
    Rui is packing his bags for toronto

    arsenal will loan watt out for a whole season to us
    howson has signed a new 1 year extension
    Billy sharp is in talks with grayson
    Ipswich centre back alex bruce is set to set for us in the next 3 weeks for around £500,000
    monty from sheff unt on a free
    ward is not true

  • dennis

    and ameobi is set to move to us in the summer after his holiday.

    • Sammy Becchio

      I’ve had a running joke with my best mate (a toon fan) all season regarding Shameobi, and how Beckford is twice the player, however he has been giving me stick, saying, you wait until the end of the season, you will be linked with him if you go up, and guess what, todays rumours/papers link us with him.

      Although he’s played in the Premiership and even the Champs League, i dont rate him that highly, what does anyone think of him?

      Gary Hooper is a must buy in my eyes

      How about Danny Rose back on loan from the Yids?

  • lufcjames

    I just want to see some real ambition from the board and management. It’s an important summer – we need to keep the momentum going. I haven’t really had chance to think about personnel yet but Sharp and Montgomery are good shouts, Montgomery in particular is a huge Leeds fan.

    Thanks TSS for your excellent posts throughout the season. I always kept an eye out for your posts while I was travelling and it was always good to get your perspective on things. Enjoy your summer!

  • dennis

    as far as i know ameobi is enarly a done deal and was pre-planned if we got promotion.

    • Sammy Becchio

      Could be worse i suppose, we could bring back Ricketts!!! ha

      Ameobi could do a job, just think he’s really lazy, and injury prone. Anyway, he’s officially a prem striker and we are linked to him, so we are moving in the right direction, unlike we were with Dickov!!
      Mot

      • dennis

        yes agreed the only loan player i wont to see back next season is watt the rest can return, also wanty to see somma given a chance however he is banned for first 3 games as he got sent off for lincoln in his last game there. Really looking forward to next season im a leeds fan living in ipswich and cant wait to get one over on them MOT.

  • Southampton have some quality player that we could attract?

  • TheReaper08

    It’s Gary Hooper all the way for me, 3rd top goalscorer in the premier league in a struggling Scunthorpe side.

    • Sammy Becchio

      Outside the Premier League Reaper, Doubt sCUNThorpe will ever be in the Premiership.

      I’m guessing from this rare slip up, you are still a bit hung over from the weekend. ha

      • TheReaper08

        Good spot Sammy, you got me fair and square. Scunthorpe in the prem, nobody would ever beleive that one…..

  • Dave999

    I’ve heard through a contact that John Stead is trying to get a move to Leeds in order to get closer to home to see his family.

    • Pete

      Hope not…let Huddersfield have him back.

  • Benjamin Bunny

    Another rumour to add to the mill, very random but very reliable.
    Lee Smith from Histon (of all clubs)
    been approached by Leeds, Dagenham and Leyton Orient.

  • Pete

    Goalkeeper, Julio Cesar or Iker Casillas.
    Full-backs, Maicon and Abidal
    Centre-Backs, Luiz and Samuel
    Playmakers, Xavi and Iniesta
    Holding midfielder, Essien
    Strikers, Torres, Messi and Villa

    Right, now all we need is about £600 million…