Promotion aftermath begins as attention turns to transfer targets TSS May 10, 2010 Leeds United 42 Comments 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.