Had an unexpected break from work last week, so I did the most sensible thing I could think of and jumped on a flight to Spain. Strange to be in a country where the locals still care about the World Cup come the latter stages.

Home-town boy comes... home!

Meanwhile, back in Leeds, it’s all been going on. Two new signings in the form of Neill Collins and Lloyd Sam have arrived at Elland Road making it six so far for Simon Grayson, and if the rumours are to be believed, Larry isn’t done yet.

The name on everyone’s lips is still Gary Hooper. The Scunthorpe youngster has never hid his desire to ply his trade at a bigger club, and Leeds United have long been seen as perfect suitors. The latest rumour claims that Leeds are close to sealing a deal for the young striker, with a price tag of £3,000,000 and a 20% sell-on clause as a nice little cherry on the top for Scunny.

Notwithstanding the obvious fact that Ken Bates’ Leeds United Plc. Fund 2.0 has never spent such an amount on any one player (or all of them combined), and would appear unlikely to change that policy with Larry hinting at limited funds, £3m is a hell of a lot of money for a Championship player – even if he is being chased by numerous clubs with undeniably bigger budgets.

Moreover, the lack of media sources citing this rumour also seems unusual. The only place I’ve come across it is SportingPreview, which lists it as one of several rumours and pays it no real significance. With all things considered, I think it’s fair to conclude that the suggested price is nonsense. That’s not to say Hooper won’t be joining us, but if he does, I’d expect a fee closer to the £1m mark with a page of add on clauses so long, you could roll it from Scunthorpe to Leeds to guide Hoops on his way.

Another almost laughable rumour comes from Betfair, claiming that Chelski striker Scott Sinclair could be closing in on a move to Elland Road. On the TSS BS scale, this particular rumour has broken the dial. Anyone who thinks Chelsea would do business with Bates, must have been living in a cave for the past decade! £1m does seem a reasonable sum for an undeniably talented youngster, but it’s £1m Chelski simply don’t need. Roman is more likely to leave the kid to fade away in Chelsea’s reserve team than allow him to move to a club led by Ken Bates – this is the kind of guy who thinks £1m buys you a cheap car for your personal masseuse to drive around in.

So, it’s so far.. so.. erm… adequate?

Hardly the most inspiring signings thus far, but all more than capable of doing a job. As it stands however, that job seems closer to bottom-half consolidation that it does mid-table/play-off push. Don’t get me wrong, Larry has done well with hardly any money spent. Lloyd Sam, Kasper Schmeichel and Billy Paynter are good signings that I’d have jumped at myself in such a position, but the defence still looks like it’s made of play-dough (on paper) and we’re still no closer to replacing Beckford. Still time though…

Useless trivia: New Leeds-born signing, Lloyd Sam has his own website which should give us an interesting insight into the goings on around Thorp Arch next season. Nosey in on his personal life here.

  • Richard

    Welcome back TSS hope you had a good time in Spain. For the last two days I’ve read about fifty reports about our new man Lloyd Sam. Most of them say he’s a wide midfielder which I take to mean a winger but none of them have said which side. Is he Left, right or either?

    • Dje

      @yorkwhite

      Apparently he can play on either wing, but I couldn’t tell you which one was his smarter side. At least it indicates a bit of pace.

      • Craig

        Maybe this will put an end to this long-running fixation with getting Sanchez Watt back?

      • TheReaper08

        @Dje @yorkwhite He played right wing in the play offs and looked pretty decent as well. If I was to guess that would be his preferred side as he went past the full back on the outside instead of cutting in on to his left al la Arjen Robben.

  • Craig

    Welcome home TSS. With 286 comments on your last post before jetting off I was getting lost in a sea of words. Good to have something new to get our teeth into.

    I share everyone’s desire for a top-class striker who will probably cost some dosh but I have to say that Grayson seems to have done very well in the freebie market. OK, they aren’t all going to work out but I would have been happy to pay good money for Paynter, Sam, Schmeichel + Bessone.

    What’s the betting Bates’ media obsession will have forced Sam to close down his personal website?

  • henry vincent lewis

    I had a look at lloyd Sam’s website yesterday.
    Seems as if he lost interest in it some years ago!
    If Simon is looking in the Premier league for a striker on loan, he will be waiting to see who the big clubs purchase in the next few weeks, before their surplus strikers become available.
    This applies to Sanchez Watt also.
    Mr Wenger may want him out on loan if he does not figure in his plans.

    • Craig

      @henryv

      Lloyd Sam’s website is certainly in need up an update but I still think Kuddly will cull it as a potential threat to his media empire. Who’ll believe his versions of the truth when there’s a mole with a website?

  • henry vincent lewis

    Just a thought on the signings so far.
    If we were still in the Third Division they would all be excellent signings, and I would be full of hope (again) for the season.
    I feel we must not underestimate the jump in class in the Championship.
    Our squad is still light weight and we may well struggle at the wrong end of the League.
    I know, before the season starts, we are all excited and optimistic but we may get a shock playing the top teams at least.

  • Craig

    We may indeed get a shock but in my opinion all the incomers so far stand a chance of cutting it at that level and I think we’ll have enough gifted players to field a strong team.

  • Richard

    I still think we need a line down the middle, a strong centre back, a ball winning midfielder and a sharp finisher.

  • Craig

    Is the fact Tom Lees is on the trip to Slovakia indicative of anything do you think?

    I’m also wondering whether the fact that Tom Elliot has been around the first team squad for many years but doesn’t feature in the tour means he may be on his way out. None of us are talking about him are we? I saw him come on as a sub in games (some time ago) but can’t say I was very impressed.

  • Paul South Wales

    I’m waiting for the £1M striker to land

  • Richard

    Maybe it’s a sign of my age but as they’re both only 20 it’s hard to think of them as first team ready. I think Tom Lees had a good season in league 2 with Accrington but it’s a big step up from league 2 to the championship. Still If the boss thinks he’s ready then who am I to argue. I dont know about Tom Elliott he’s another super kid who you think give him a couple of years and he’s going to be something special. Two years later and he seems to have dropped off the radar.

  • Tim Campbell

    And no brazilians to be found anywhere!!

  • Colin

    @TheReapero8

    I think you were being a bit negative on the last blog about Leeds not playing a 4-3-3 and also not rating Grella.

    I will take your imaginary £10 bet on Grella not being a starter by Xmas. He’s the ONLY player who’s been given a long term contract at a time when Leeds were certainties to go up. SG, whether rightly or wrongly rates him. If you want to loan him out you don’t give him a 3 year contract.

    We all know that Leeds’ defence is weak. It’s pretty poor which means that we need to score goals to keep us in contention and that’s why I think we will be attacking. There’s no other option! We can’t afford to buy a decent back four – a decent Championship defender probably costs £2m. We haven’t got £8m to spend.

    And I really do hope we give up on the whole Hooper thing – we can’t afford him.

    I really think there are enough goalscorers in this team for us to do well. If we do go 4-3-3 (and I think we have to with the players we have) then there will be so much pressure on Howson to deliver as a quality midfielder. There’s no signs that he’s getting another replacement for Doyle, which suggests to me that there won’t be 4 in midfield. For me, that means that Howson will be key to Leeds’ success this season.and I personally rate Howson very highly – yes it’s major responsibility but I think he’s up to the job.

    And forget all this codshit about Naylor being captain. Sure, Naylor may start as captain but he won’t finish the season with the captain’s armband.

    The captain will be Yorkshireman Jonny Howson. I think the key players for Leeds are Howson, Snodgrass, Paynter and Schmeichel. They have to prove that not only are they Championship class, but they’re PL class. For me, as it stands, they are the players who Leeds need to depend on to deliver success in this league.

    A lot of people are saying this is one of the weakest Championships yet. Maybe just maybe, with an attacking, passing style setup Leeds could get something out of this. Dare we believe that we could just go and get promoted?? I’ll be honest, I’m slowly starting to think that we could.

    Did Leeds need to sign players for this Championship campaign? YES.

    Have we done that? YES.

    Can we get promoted?? I BELIEVE WE CAN!!

    Let’s be positive! LEEDS IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE 2011/12.

    I BELIEVE, DO YOU??

    • Craig

      @colin

      I think you have a touch of the sun mate!

      If it is true that it is a weakened championship I guess there’s a chance we might start well and go on a run. In fact, given our early fixtures, if we start well anything may be possible. The problem is that a fan is always dewy eyed about the prospects for his own team and I know relatively little about other teams in this league.

      That begs another question though: do I want us to go up this year? In one respect we all do but I question whether it might be better to spend a few years consolidating so that, if we were to be promoted again, we might stand a chance of actually staying in the Premiership.

    • Craig

      Its either the sun or you’ve missed your vocation as a preacher!

    • TheReaper08

      @colin I think you have read part of my post wrong mate. I said I liked your attack minded formation but that I didn’t think SG would adopt it.

      You read the bit about Grella right though, as far as I am concerned he is now about 5th choice forward and I expect another to arrive yet. He has a significant improvement to make before he is L1 level let alone Championship. The contract is no indicator to how good he actually is more how good they thought he might be.

      Give up on the Hooper thing then give up hope, 1 goal in 3 starts and 25 sub appearances Grellla aint gonna save us.

  • Tim Wilsom

    Why is Sommas name nowhere on the official website team list. Someone answer this so I’ll stop obsessing. I think we’re doin alright so far

    • Dje

      @leedsusa

      Well spotted. Know idea – I can only think that the web admin people at Leeds messed up the squad list when trying to add Lloyd Sam and get away on the quick to pack their bags for a freebee holiday in Slovakia. If it isn’t corrected by Tuesday then worry!

    • Craig

      @leedsusa

      I think the answer to the Somma question is that he wasn’t in our first team squad last year and the website hasn’t been comprehensively updated. He also came back from the USA late due to green card problems apparently – but is in Slovakia with the rest of the squad.

      • Dje

        @craig

        Sadly not, I noticed Somma’s chirpy face on it earlier in the week.

    • Dje

      I noticed Somma is still on the site as a player profile – so small mercies!

  • Dje

    Apparently Grayson said the trialists are joining the Slovak tour later on. Or so I was told it was said on LUTV earlier today. Not sure if others have noticed that Ali Fuseini is supposed to be on trial with us at the moment too: short, midfield guy who Millwall no longer wanted.

    I see there’s no place for the transfer listed boys either. Not too surprised, but it might help if you showcased their ‘talents’ once in a while! Some middle European scouts might have taken a look at Michalik out there as he is from that neck of the woods and could have been tempted home with an offer, no?

    Would have been nice to see a few of the kids get a bit of experience for them against the Slovaks. Darville and Hatfield seemed to have done enough in the reserves/youths last season to at least get a treat of a trip across there on the Ryanair flight! Tom Elliott would have at least brought a bit of height up front also. [Me thinks with the absence of Michalik, Kandol and Elliott that Grayson has a chip on his shoulder about being shorter than them!]

    • Craig

      @Dje

      I’d not heard anything about Ali Fuseini. Where’d you get that news from?

      I can see your point about including those who are on the way out but where do you draw the line? Is there any point to doing a bonding exercise and getting the team playing together with players who aren’t going to figure next year? You have a stronger point about including a few youngsters though – I’m sure some were included last year. Maybe, with all the additions to the squad, Grayson wants to avoid unbalancing things too far. And maybe it’s the size of the coach that determines the limit!

      • Dje

        @craig

        The Fuseini connection was something I saw some guys mention when they were close scrutinising the photos of the Slovak trip – trying to spot any famous Brazilians on trial – on another Leeds United website. He’s also down as part of our squad on Wikipidia. Not fullproof by any standard, but if he’s just been released by Millwall I can see no harm in Grayson taking him on trial for a look.

        Fair point about not needing the transfer listed players on the team building exercise but I actually reckon we’ll play Michalik a bit next season if we nobody comes in for him, and we don’t pick up any other centre back. So an extra bum on a cheap flight and coach (surely the coach is for more than 20! Or is it one of those old death trap ones they used to cart school kids around in up and down motorways without a seat belt amongst them – essentially a white van with some holes cut out for windows, and a few padded seats bolted in it?!!) wouldn’t have been a loss.

        When they get back I really hope they play/hawk Sheehan once in a while – he’s the only transfer listed playe rof ours that I reckon we could shift quite easy to a League 1 or 2 team.

        • Craig

          Yes, I have found the Fuseini info myself now. I applaud those who have nothing better to do than scrutinise photos!

          On the coach size – I’m sure the coaching and management team will be in Slovakia too!

  • les irwin

    6 players 600,000 quid all of that on collins???????????????????? now im not complacent and it seems to me that grayson was right in league 1 but im not happy they have gone off to slovakia without THE THING WE NEED MOST 20+ goals a season striker or at least another 1 proven at the bottom of the prem or in championship for me HOOPER not sinclair or keogh who we gave away not giovanni and thank god it will not be sharpe we should be splashing the dosh now upto 2 mill for a striker .we kept beckford for his goals and it worked although it cost us 1.5 million????? grayson said it goals that get you promoted well where will ours come from next term at the moment our fire power will get us 30/35 of the 50 we need plus midfield weighing in etc ,please someone give me some inspiration

    • Craig

      I’m not sure anyone on here was convinced about the accuracy of the £600k rumour. The figure was ‘undisclosed’.

      • TheReaper08

        @craig Unfortunately I think it is right. My brother-in-law has strong connections at Deepdale so I am trying to find out the finer details as we speak, more next week.

        • Dje

          @TheReaper08

          I’d be fascinated to know – even if the truth is a horror story.

          • Craig

            @Dje

            Surely ‘horror story’ is a bit strong. Collins’ record at previous clubs is a good one, having been signed by clubs he was loaned to – in other words he was ‘trialled’ for a reasonable period and then signed. He also looks to have been treated ungratefully by both Wolves + Preston.

            Everyone who has commented on Collins’ performances for us last season also seem to feel he was instrumental in tying the back four together in the run-in, without which there would have been no promotion.

  • les irwin

    if we get promoted next season i will eat my preverbial hat on the pitch at elland road last home game .we do not want or need promotion next season it will be too early and we will come back down then we could spiral down further ,i would like us to compete and win loose and d raw but goiung up for me in my opinion would be bad

  • Dje

    If we ‘accidently’ got promoted and had no ambition then we could always do a Burnley and cash-in on the parachute payments on our instant return to the Championship and use it to build our squad with that cash. I’m sure that’s what Blackpool will do this season; sad but true.

    Just don’t give us Brian Laws!

    • Craig

      @Dje
      That’s true but, if we are promoted again, won’t we have further payments to make following the post-administration deal we did?

  • TheReaper08

    @craig Yes we will but they pale in to virtual insignificance compared to the riches of a) being in the PL and b) the increased parachute payments.

  • Dje

    Yeah I think we’d have to pay out £5-6m but would gain £70m. A balance of +£65m aint bad!

  • TSS

    Somma – Still under contract. The only way he’s left is if money has changed hands. If that’s the case, then so be it. I’d like the lad to be in the first team, but with Paynter, Becchio, Grella and presumably one more, what real chance does he stand?

    As for promotion next season – why not? We aren’t Blackpool, Burnley or Hull. We’re Leeds United for christ sake. No team in the Championship builds for the Prem, because Prem quality players only play in the Prem. Unfortunately, you have to be there to attract them. You also have to be there to be able to afford them, so all this consolidation talk is rubbish. Leeds is an enormous club, and I have no doubts whatsoever that in the Premier League, we can hold our own.

    • Dje

      @TSS

      The trouble is balancing the ambition with the finances once you get promoted. To spend the entirety of the £70m (which includes the three seasons worth of parachute payments if relegated) on Premiership players and their wages and have no room to manouevre if we are relegated and left still playing Premiership wages in the Championship for up to the next three seasons, with the moody useless squad moping about and refusing to play for their livelihoods in the Championship because they’re not playing in the Premiership anymore, and so they want a cut-price quick transfer route back to the Premiership where they supposedly belong (at least their egos rightfully do) and to devil with the club they utterly failed to keep in the Premiership. Countless teams have fallen into this trap and I doubt Leeds are ‘too big to fall’ once more on name alone.

      This is not to say that we don’t need ambition and jump at the opportunity to play in the Premiership and buy Premiership players, but we don’t want to court ‘living the dream’ mentalities once more, and delude ourselves that we wont go the same way as most teams who get promoted from the Championship (ie. straight back down) just because ‘we are Leeds’.

      …but we are getting ahead of ourselves, me thinks.

      • Craig

        @Dje

        Thanks for balancing our discussion Dje. I really hope we aren’t in this division long but I too don’t want to see anything happen which will tip this rollercoaster over the edge again.

    • les irwin

      tss for the first time i have a slight difference of opinion .i dont really hold with this leeds are a massive club so they can do this and that we just got promoted from league 3 .blackpool and burnley are right up there with some of the greats of english football in tradition and in recent seasons they have competed in higher divisions than us you are right about footballers though they are not intrested in getting to prem they are intrested in being in the prem .thats one of the reasons english footy is on its ass, no fight .the one thing i will say is that publicly blackpoool are saying we will get relegated ,bet they are not saying that privately .this team will not get us promoted yet 2/3 seasons and we will be back in prem that will be soon enough can we enjoy next season in mid table /top ten without the disappointments etc of playoffs lets have a good season mext term and then 2011/12 move for promotion

  • robin gibson

    somma did great @ Lincoln & on championship manager for me – LUFC promoted under my guidance & Beckford signed a new deal. I also brought in tom taiwo as a defensive midfielder and he has done very well allowing howson to maraude forward – if only reality was as easy as its virtual cousin!!

  • Teeth

    I’m not so sure about the defence being lightweight. Last season the flanks were clearly a problem not helped by a keeper who was very weak here. I think kasper will address this. Assuming the new left and right backs will be stronger it will allow Leigh to play in his favourite position backing up patrick Kis and neill collins and with the lethargic naylor who seems to add with his spirit and experience. Hughes is useful in emergency too. summery is that although no one is amazing it may just work as a unit due to a blend of a bit of everything. Maybe I am just an optimist!

  • leeds mick from blackburn

    if the tabloids are right and dave nugent is available for 1.2 mil from portsmouth why doesnt sg buy him he will score 20 goals in championship

    • Craig

      ‘If the tabloids are right’ – maybe the reason is staring you in the face!

      If you want me to do the usual @… thing you are going to have to shorten your sign-on name!

    • TheReaper08

      @leeds mick from blackburn

      Nugent has never shown any indication of scoring 20+ goals in the Championship, in fact he has only scored over 20 in one season and half of that was played in league 2.

  • Paul Gittins

    @TSS
    Have to disagree with you about “consolidation” and building for the Prem. UNLESS (and as I’ve said before, this is a big condition) we get a very rich sugar daddy to replace Cuddly Ken, IF we get to the Prem we’ll have to do it in the manner of a Stoke or a Birmingham. Yes, we’d have to buy some players; but we’d also need a core of players coming up from the Championship – just as both those clubs have.

    Not to do that would likely result in us doing a Hull; by rights, they should only have lasted one season in the Prem, and only survived because other clubs were even more inept than they were ………..

  • TheReaper08

    @paulg In the case of Hull add to that financial mismanagement for the reason they hung in there for a while.

  • Dje

    @craig

    I whittled on at length (probably too long too) regarding my ‘horror story’ comment about the Collins transfer in the last TSS thread – somewhere amongst the 300 odd comments.

    I don’t have a problem signing Collins – in fact owing to the ‘calming’ influence he brought to our back four when he came on loan, the fact that he has experience at Elland Road already now and played well for most (he had a few dodgy games too) of his matches with us, and that he has Championship experience with Wolves are all good pointers for signing him. The ‘horror’ element is if we paid £600k (or any noticeable amount really) for a player who Ferguson at Preston so publicly wanted rid of. To take an unwanted earner of the Preston wage bill should not require us to essentially pay the full premium (although ‘undisclosed’ at the time, I read recently that it was c.£650k) to Preston for a player they signed from Wolves and then instantly decided they didn’t want and has no future at the club. If you bought a brand new ferrari, drove it around for a few months, then stuck it in the garage for a year – or loaned it out to a mate for a bit of a spin once in a while – you wouldn’t expect to get the full price you originally paid for it on Ebay. With the football/economic climate it is a buyers market, not a sellers one – so we look like mugs paying the sellers dream price.

    Essentially my biggest concern – and hopefully Bates & Grayson utterly prove me wrong later this month – is that we have a very limited transfer fund available this summer, so using money up on a player we could have got for far less than we paid could have repercussions on players and positions most agree we will have to spend the pennies on – a forward and central midfielder.

    Disclaimer: part of me wonders if Bates&Co as good as insisted paying some money for Collins – say 75k or the like – and have it agreed as an ‘undisclosed fee’ to get the boo-boys to shut up about only buying freebies. Cynical, yes – but effective. Anyway, hopefully Reaper’s insider findings clear this up.

    • Dje

      Sorry, just to clear up my garbled comment – Preston originally paid c.£650k to Wolves for Collins – and then promptly said they didn’t want him.

  • mike chill

    i’m living in gran canaria and i’ve been a die hard leeds fan for 40 years and i scour the tinternet for any news, so firstly thanks to all for keeping people like me in the know, or in the maybe know. But i feel that this is a weakened league with the likes of hull and pompey in dire straights and also teams like forrest that seem to be losing players , maybe the reason is they’re disheartened by the fact that they came so close! But i feel we should go for promotion and then be prepared to sit mid table for 2/3 seasons. If the likes of manure can be beaten in their own back yard surely we can draw more than we can lose and maybe win a few! The pl is the place to sit and earn. Then i’ll hear that it was beckfords goal and we don’t have becks, but am i right in saying that when becks seemingly lost his spark and sg benched him> did we not do ok. did howson not crack in a beauty, was a lot of goals that becks scored the product of excellant assists. And we will be playing teams that identify themselves with the likes of LUFC, so we won’t be playing cup finals every week. So i say get in the pl asap and sit it out for a while.
    I’ll prob be slated as a plastic white that knows nowt but thats my opinion.
    cheers mike

  • henry vincent lewis

    Hi Mike.
    Gran Canaria!!! Excellent!
    We will, of course, be hoping for promotion as soon as possible. However, realistically, with our squad just now, we may will struggle for a top 6 place.
    Although we did well against ManU and Spurs, the effort almost blew our season.
    We struggled against some poor teams in Div 3, and indeed struggled against the top teams also.
    I shudder to think what would have happened to us in the play-offs if we had not managed to limp over the line in the last game!
    That is the truth of it.
    While we are in the close season anything seems possible,
    but we know from previous sad experience, that nothing is as we expect at Leeds.
    The Championship is still a strong league, even if teams are struggling financially, and the majority of the teams will have stronger squads than us.
    Hopefully SG will continue to strengthen as both he and Ken know where the ‘pot of gold’ is!
    I am very excited about the new season, as we all are, but until it starts it is impossible to know what our level is in the Championship.

  • cossie(LUFC)

    Just to join in the transfers debate. I like Schmeichel and Collins signings, don’t really know Bassone or Connolly and think Sam will be hot and cold like gradel. Paynter I am more worried about as I think he punched above his weight last season, hopefully he will prove me wrong. I still think we are three players short, sadly all in ‘the spine’ of the team but unless Somma or Grella step up I think the urgent position that needs filling is a goal scorer. I agree with others that we can’t afford Hooper (if we could he would have signed by now) and most of the other names mentioned are just not good enough.
    My worry is that if we are in the bottom third of the table at the end of September Grayson will be history and we will need to start all over again!
    MOT

  • Paul Solk

    Hi all, new to the site. I enjoy your good discussions. If I may put my twopenth in.

    Seems to me that a squad of 24 needs balance and coverage in all areas. Grayson’s trying to shift the squad from a bunch of primarily League One/Championship players to a squad full of Championship standard, with maybe some capable of higher.

    So in my opinion, back to front he now has:

    Schmeichal (Prem/Champ)
    Higgs (Champ/L1)

    Connolly (Champ)
    Crowe (L1)

    Kisnorbo (Champ/Prem)
    Collins (Champ)
    Bromby (Champ)
    A N OTHER (Champ/Prem)
    Naylor (L1)

    Bessone (Champ)
    Parker (Champ/L1)

    White (L1/Champ) – Left sided utility
    Hughes (Champ/L1) – Midfield utility

    Howson (Champ) -Creative, central
    Kilkenny (Champ) -creative, central
    Johnson (Champ/L1) -Central/Left
    A N OTHER (Champ) – Holding Midfield
    Snodgrass (Champ/Prem) – Creative Right/Central
    Sam (Champ) – Pacey winger
    Gradel (Champ) – Pacey winger/front man

    A N OTHER (Champ/Prem) – Pace please
    Paynter (Champ/L1) – Holding man
    Becchio (Champ/L1) – Holding man
    Grella/Somma (L1/Champ?) – Pace

    If you agree with my assessment, then Grayson’s getting there, for nowt! As we all suspect, he can turn this solid squad into a real challenger by buying a:-
    -Premiership experienced central defender ie O’Brien
    -Championship quality holding mid – any suggestions?
    -proven Championship quality 20 a year striker ie Hooper.

    Should cost about 4 million max. Have we got it?

    • Craig

      @raza

      I think I pretty much agree with your analysis Raza. It is helpful to see it spelled out on paper. Having said this, players are going to surprise us this season – some positively and others will disappoint. How the team gels and players respond to the step up is the key unknown factor.

  • Craig

    I know its all mind games at this time of year but I’m not sure what to make of the balance within the following comment from SG recorded on the YEP website:

    “We feel we’ve got players who can score us goals. But that doesn’t rule anybody out of the equation who is offered to us that will make us even better. But if we start the season with our five strikers vying for positions, I’ll be happy with that.”

    Maybe I’m reading too much into it but I wonder if, as the article suggests, Grayson is going to tinker with the formation to get more goals throughout the side rather than focus everything into the target man as the team seemed to do from the middle of last season. It would certainly make us less vulnerable to a dip in the form of the striker.

  • Colin

    Re Somma not on team list – didn’t he have problems with his green card – might have just been a legal thing to keep him off for now until all that’s officially completed and signed off.

  • Paul Gittins

    @raza
    Interesting analysis, and I don’t think you’re a million miles out. I’d be astonished if there weren’t 2-3 more at Leeds come the start of the season. I believe that we’ve now said we don’t want Doyle; as he was pretty much a fixture in SG’s team last year, I can only presume that SG has a replacement in mind.

    With Kisnorbo out for god knows how long, agree we need another centre back ….. and the striker is a given.

  • Mitch

    Just looked at your assessment Raza. Seems fairly accurate although I personally think White is a good prospect and capable of growing into the championship and higher. Holding midfielder and a proven champ goal scorer and I think we will do ok. Likely to need more cover in centre of defence due to injuries.

    • Craig

      @Mitch

      Judging from comments made last season, I think White has a problem with his nerves which needs sorting before he’s going to be a regular fixture. I really hope he makes progress in this aspect of his life because I rate him highly.

  • les irwin

    we can all speculate but it will not go away the fact that we are not spending any money now in the financial climate people will say its good business and im starting to be maybe thinking that way too but we do need a striker and a midfielder now are there any frees that will fit those places .now the only thing i will say if it goes pear shaped and we struggle without money being spent ,WHO WILL BE TO BLAME??????????????? ,NOW THERES A QUESTION

    • Craig

      I’ll leave blame to others. It is an increasingly destructive tendency that I refuse to engage in.

  • henry vincent lewis

    I am sure that SG does not know how we will do either, but I am also sure that he will move to improve as required.
    Simon nows the Championship pretty well.
    As the Premiership clubs sort themselves out, we may well see younger players coming from that league to us.
    Why not. They all need to be playing and we are now in the Championship so it will be more attractive to them, AND
    we are Leeds so our fans and facilities are Premiership standard.

    • AltrinchamAndrew

      ..rumour on another website saying that we’ve been sold!!!!!! Yes been here before, but heard from a reliable contact 2 months ago unprompted that Leeds had a new owner. Who knows Papa Smurf may be on his way!!!!!??

      • Dje

        Don’t believe a word of it, AltrinchamAndrew; but I’d love to see the website you spotted it on.

  • Craig

    Sorry to scotch your tasty rumour but, although my offer was accepted by the club, I had to withdraw it on discovering that my son’s Student Finance loan isn’t going to be quite what I expected.

  • mike chill

    news ish within the last 4 hours,
    t seems the team everyone wants to be linked with in the Championship is newly-promoted Leeds United, and reports today suggest that Simon Grayson is looking at two strikers. Middlesbrough’s Leroy Lita could be the target of a £500,000 bid from the Whites, while the United gaffer is also pondering a move to take Aston Villa’s England Under-21 international Natha Delfouneso on a season-long loan.
    what would they bring?

  • Craig

    What do we think of the rumour on Betfair that Leroy Lita could be the target of a £500,000 bid and that Grayson is also pondering a move to take international Nathan Delfouneso on loan from Aston Villa?

    • Craig

      @mike chill

      We must have seen the same story at the same time Mike!

      • mike chill

        Ref somma,
        Having had a successful spell on loan at Sincil Bank last season, South African striker Davide Somma could be about to join Lincoln City from Leeds United. He netted nine times for the Imps in three months.

  • mike chill

    How would they fit into your equation Raza?

  • Dje

    Isn’t Lita’s career going a bit of the boil at the moment? Not sure I’d want to pay £500k for a player they picked up on a free only a year ago and obviously want rid to clear space and the wages (probably for Hooper). I’d see Hooper as offering something in the Premiership if we got promoted in a season or two, I couldn’t say the same about Lita. But then if we did pay £650k for Collins then Lita seems reasonable for £500k I guess. Swings and roundabouts.

    I’ve never heard of Nathan Delfouneso, so he could be the ‘next big thing’. Young untested player on loan from a higher division to play upfront? He certainly ticks all the hallmark Grayson boxes.

    • Craig

      @Dje

      I checked out biogs + stats for both these players and felt quite positive – but then I noted the comment about Davide Somma further down that page on BetFair: “Davide Somma could be about to…” Do me a favour BetFair – ‘could be’ is pretty much admitting you made it all up!

      • Dje

        I actually thought Lita was more productive in front of goal than his stats suggest – hence the ‘off the boil’ remark. Last season he scored 8 times in 40 appearances – considering the amount of stick that Becchio gets for his goal tally I reckon this is a bit measly – and Becchio at least is a holding forward! Someone with a better knowledge of football can tell me why he struggled to score with Middlesbrough but banged in 7 goals in 1g games for relegation-bound Norwich?!

        I admit that he has at least pedigree at Championship level, having previously scored 32 goals in 100 games for Reading – not a Beckford goal ratios, true – but Beckford was that little bit special.

        I wonder what sort of wage Lita would be after too? Reading and Middlesbrough possibly (re: probably) had him on silly money.

  • Henry

    Nathan Delfouneso is very fast and highly regarded at Villa.
    We would be lucky to get him.
    I saw him come on as a sub for villa last season.

    http://www.avfc.co.uk/page/PlayerProfiles/0,,10265~42906,00.html

  • Dje

    re: Somma

    Sadly I could see us sell him over the Summer – but not to Lincoln. They haven’t any money for transfers, and Somma scored at leisure for an ailing League 2 side: so he’s League 1 class, IMHO, at least.

    • Craig

      I guess it depends what the Leeds scouts saw (assuming they were watching the games he played for Lincoln?).

  • Dje

    On an aside:

    Just wondered what people’s verdict was on Howard Webb’s refereeing of the dismal World Cup Final last night?

    I thought he did pretty well. Had he sent the two Dutch lads off in the first half then we would all categorically be talking about refereeing decisions; at least he gave the game a chance of existing in the second half.

    Or are the Dutch just the worst, most-embarrassing losers ever?

    • TheReaper08

      @Dje I think Holland were a disgrace and that total buffoon Kuyt (Sloth from Goonies) has got a lot to answer for. To even suggest they lost the World Cup because of unecessary bookings is beyond sanity. There game plan was to rough up Spain and they got exactly what they deserved…….Nowt !

    • Craig

      I thought Howard Webb did OK on a very tough night. For the first 15 minutes it was clear that he was very reluctant to show any kind of card in the hope/expectation that the game would find a flow and players would heed his verbal warnings. The minute he produced the first card and both sides (Spain were as bad at the beginning and it was 2 bookings each before the Dutch really went at it) carried on in the same way it became clear Webb was in for a torrid night.

  • les irwin

    somma is in slovakia with squad at mo so iminent is less than truthful dont know what to make of somma .but until we give him a try we will never know .i remember beckford at the begining he couldnt hit a bovine beasts backside with a ukelele to start so he is worth a try probably same with grella really ,

  • pete

    While I think that Somma and Grella have futures at Leeds, if we were to offer Scunny one or both of them plus, say, a million for Hooper, I reckon both sides would be happy.

  • Colin

    @Dje
    Holland’s tactics nearly pulled it off though – another 5 minutes and they’d have gone to penalties and then it’s anyone’s game.

    I don’t think Holland intentionally went out to kick Spain in the air, but I think their manager did send them out with a plan to try and get Spain riled and get someone sent off such as Puyol – he’s both a threat at set pieces and a great defender – if Spain had lost him, then Holland would have had the advantage.

    And Holland knew and we all knew that no ref in the WC Final, especially Webb, was going to start throwing around red cards, whether deserved or not.

    And that seriously annoys me – I heard that complete tool Graham Poll on a 5live podcast at the start of the World Cup talking about the strategy for refereeing and how they were going to be harsh in the group stages, but in the later stages they would be more lenient because they didn’t want to see the big teams going out or seeing big names being sent off. And that happened and that comment went completely unnoticed.

    For me a foul is a foul – what message does that send out? I don’t care if someone from Honduras in game 1 gets sent off for a challenge. Fair enough. But if someone from Spain or Holland makes the same challenge then it’s a sending off as well. It can’t be a yellow card, just because it’s the final or a semi final?

    I don’t know if anyone feels the same way as me, but I thought this world cup was errr, well a bit dull?

  • Colin

    And is it just me or is anyone else feeling like they just couldn’t care less about how England do anymore?

    I think it’s maybe because I’m in my 30’s now and maybe I’m becoming a grumpy old man. But I always wanted England to do well, always wanted England to win, always thought of Wembley as some sort of spiritual home of football.

    Now I’m fed up. Actually, I’m annoyed. I know you’re all going to call me a soft lad for this but never mind. My Mum lives in West Yorks as does the rest of my family and I live down south 200 miles away. Because we’re not living close my Mum didn’t get me any birthday presents for a few years. Which is fine because I’m 33 and I don’t need the presents and she’s 70+ and lives off a measly state pension so I don’t want her spending money on me anyway. However, my sister drove her down and she stayed over for a weekend and said “i haven’t given you a birthday present for a few years but I know you like your football” and gave me the official new England home and away strips. She can’t afford it but it was great. She saved up for a long time to save her own money and paid full price for those shirts. They’re now on sale for £20 a piece.

    You probably all think it’s a stupid story, but it just makes me sick of it all.

    • TheReaper08

      @colin I have a great deal of sympathy but don’t allow yourself to become one of those top 5 PL supporting prima donnas that cares little for there country. Take a look at the pictures from Spain today, I sincerely hope to bear witness to scenes like that in England in my lifetime, just think of what it would do for all of us (that care).

      By the way your Mum sounds awesome.

      • Colin

        @TheReapero8
        thanks

    • Craig

      @colin

      Not stupid at all, very touching in fact. I remember feeling the similar when my son or daughter came back from a school trip and bought me a small present with their limited funds.

      I’m in my 40s Colin and I also understand exactly what you mean about following England. In my case it was meeting people from other countries (and occasionally visiting those countries for more than just a holiday) and realising that I actually respected their differing lifestyles and cultures. I then began to reflect on why I needed to feel superior to them – as so many English do. At that point I ceased to care whether or not they beat us at football as long as it was a good game.

  • Mike

    I agree with you on England but keep the shirts for your mums sake.
    Grumpy old man??? I am twice your age lad.

    • Dje

      Agreed on keeping it.

      That England shirt is sort of a modern equivalent to the stripy tank-top mothers used to knit sons nearly half a century back. You’d never wanted it in the first place; felt pangs of guilt about not wanting to wear it outside in public, ever; and only actually put it on when your mum came around to visit (and even then only to appease the nagging wife who’s still trying to garnish the role of daughter-in-law in your mother’s eyes). Times change, family relations don’t.

    • Colin

      @mikelufc
      thanks

  • Dje

    @colin

    I thought is was a terrible World Cup too, actually. I don’t understand the lovefest for Spain (and Holland before the final took place), and always wanted Uruguay v Germany in the final – only because I thought these teams were genuinely entertaining.

    Sure, Spain pass it beautifully – but that’s for the ‘purists’ (‘purists’ being mostly TV pundits who get paid too much to wax lyrical about ‘the beautiful game’ for two sentences each at half-time (one sentence each if it is ITV and the commercials need to be fitted in)).

    I’d prefer entertainment over quality regarding a match that I’m impartial over. When it comes to Leeds then sadly I’d just take the win, the win at any dour cost, with any quality being a luxury that gets waxed lyrically for a few hours afterwards, but still it is all about the win. Sadly this is probably down to the self-kicking we have given ourselves since c.2003.

    With such a dour World Cup on show I have to say that I missed a fair bit of the final as I was doing odd jobs around the room as it was on the TV in the background – but I thought the Dutch had the best chances of the game – Robben clean through twice (once saved by the foot of Casillas, the other time partially brought down by Puyol, but if he stayed on his feet he should have scored). I’m not sure if it would have been rough-justice on Spain and a ‘terrible example’ for kids watching around the world, personally I prefer to find my moral instructions for me and the kiddies from beyond the TV screen.

    I’d be interested if anyone else noticed this – but unless I’m wrong, there wasn’t a single freekick from an actual foul in the Spain / Germany semi-final until the 25th-odd minute. A few offsides etc, but no fouls. It didn’t actually feel like a proper match – more like something FIFA had scripted to demonstrate how to be competitive and still abide by ‘Fair Play’ principles. Very creepy. Still, having seen how well the Dutch managed to constrain Spain through ploughing tackles I bet the Germans wished they’d put the boot about a tad more.

    I can’t do England either – I’m Britain or nowt. I’d be curious to know if I felt a twinge of support for England if they reached a final, but I doubt that’ll be put to the test sometime soon.

    ps. loved the story, you big softy.

    • TheReaper08

      @Dje Spain were the best team by a mile, they lacked the clinical effectiveness in the final third but that’s largely down to how poor Torres was and the fact they hadn’t given much consideration to a plan B.

      It’s a fine line between a sterile foul free game and the absolute disgrace that Holland produced last night, I am absolutely ecstatic that the Dutch got exactly what they deserved, a big fat Zero. Even better that it happend so close to them almost succeeding in there anti football approach and making it to penalties.

      I hope when my son grows up he plays football like that Spanish team, if he makes it and he can find ten other like minded individuals who knows England might just win the World Cup.

      England first Great Britain second.

    • Craig

      @Dje

      For me pass and move = entertainment. I’m finding it hard to see how the Germans’ ruthless efficiency is more entertaining than Spain.

      • Dje

        @craig

        I thought the Germans’ ruthless efficiency was mostly de-mythicized during this World Cup. They were utterly clinical in counter-attacking football against idiotic defending teams like England – but they can be hardly blamed for that. Besides, you can;t deny that a countering, sweeping move on the break isn’t entertaining – it’s what Spain won the dull final by.

        Without wanting to sound too much like a kid, or an American, I thought the Spanish were too organised and packed the midfield to ever really ‘enjoy’ their games. They managed seven goals in eight games, and conceded only two – so their strength is really on organisation and great team drive to get men back behind the ball when they lose possession – incredibly skillful and admirable, but not necessarily entertaining. In comparison the Germans scored sixteen goals and conceded five – the latter suggesting why they didn’t win the World Cup but the former would have to question whether they were ruthlessly efficient.

        Ultimately Spain won it though – so me suggesting Germany were the better team makes no real sense, and my biggest disapointment was how ineffectual the Germans were against the Spanish in the semi-final – sadly where more ruthless efficiency might have made it more of a fight (although hopefully not ‘fight’ as in the Dutch sense of the word).

  • Colin

    @Dje
    Thanks. And what would be interesting is if there was a Great Britain football team at the 2012 Olympics, and I can’t see why that wouldn’t happen.

    Sure, it would probably have a ‘manager’ who isn’t currently a full time manager, so someone like Beckham. And it would have equal representation across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. And yes all the best players would be in the Euro2012 tournament, so it would probably be full of young players. But playing in London for a GB team at the Olympics, would the fans be behind them and would the manager and players show real passion?? I think 100% yes.

    Why are all the UK FA organisations so against a GB team? Because maybe everyone might get behind a GB team that is united and working their socks off to do the country proud. Which is something the home nations teams haven’t done (and it’s not just England who let their fans down) for quite some time.

    • TheReaper08

      @colin A totally integrated GB team won’t happen because the other countries F.A’s view it as a watering down of there independance. There concern is that FIFA will then say well a GB team works so no need for Scotland/Wales/NI teams, then the next step is integrated leagues and before you know it a good 50 teams have fallen by the wayside.

      Not my opinon but that’s what they think…..

  • henry vincent lewis

    I know what you are saying about England and the World Cup.
    The players who play for England are rich spoilt ‘men’ who are so out of touch with the average supporter.
    It is difficult to feel any connection with them.
    Had they performed well I am sure we would have warmed to them.
    As it turned out they confirmed my opinion of them as characterless buffoons. This was highlighted by Rooney’s arrogant criticism of the fans, who spent more than they could probably afford to follow them!
    They care for no one but themselves and live in another world.
    it was a very poor world cup, and we were the worst of a bad lot!!

    • Dje

      The German players were laughing at the English players when they said that they were bored at the World Cup as they couldn’t go out and “there’s only so many games of darts and pool you can play”.

      Lol, wasn’t there three World Cup football matches on TV each day for them to study? You know, perhaps watch teams who you might play against soon; just a wee bit of professional curiosity, no?

    • Craig

      @henryv

      Agree Henry. I’m not sure we were the worst though – I think France take that gong.

  • henry vincent lewis

    I have noticed, listening to Simon, that his training methods have changed with more emphasis on ball skills, and building up fitness by playing practice games instead of just running.
    Also, from day one, working on attack and defence.
    It will be interesting to see if shows an improvement on the pitch.

  • Dje

    @The Reaper. I don’t think there would be an enforcement of integrated leagues as regional leagues are quite common (admittedly usually with one ‘national’ league at the top), but it is the ‘Home Nations’ voting rights that would be lost. Instead of the current four votes (England, Wales, Scotland, N. Ireland) they would only have one – which would dent chances of getting, say, the World Cup in 2018. T’all politics sadly.

    It is bizarre though, having sub-kingdom teams in FIFA rather than just UK – if we were a lesser team/power they wouldn’t tolerate it. I mean, could you imagine if the fifty odd kingdoms of Malaysia or the individual emirates of U.A.E insisted on representing themselves – or if East Germany refused to to play with West Germany after the Berlin Wall came down.

    I did find it ironic though that the day before Spain won the World Cup, apparently a million Catalans took to the streets of Barcelona calling for independence from ‘España’. Considering how many Barcelona players were in the starting Spanish XI at the final, I bet they are getting a bit twitchy in perfidious Madrid.

    • TheReaper08

      @Dje It’s not what I believe will happen but that’s what the other F.A’s think. You are absolutley right though, if a modern version of the UK applied to Fifa to be recognised independantly as 4 countires it would never happen and that’s what scares the other UK F.A’s.

      Personally I don’t give to hoots for Wales, Scotland or N.I so if they don’t want to join in for the Olympics I won’t shed one tear. Let GB field a team of young Englishman and perhaps the full England team might benefit from it in the long term.

  • Colin

    I think a GB soccer team might happen in 2012, but not necessarily for all the right reasons. The only global spectacle that can compete with the WC is the Olympics (and possibly FIA with F1). I think money could play a part – Nike have PL ball sponsorship and many teams, the FA have Umbro, but the GB Olympics team is Adidas and so is Beckham. How much money would Adidas make from a Union Flag kit that the GB team would wear?

    I reckon TeamGB could apply for a GB ‘soccer’ team as a one off as it’s being held in London. It shouldn’t upset the FA too much as the non Euro teams will put out decent strength teams and win it, surely?

    If we fielded a GB team of players who have never played for their Football associations before then can they not get away with it?

    Let’s say some money just perhaps got put in Beckham’s pocket from Adidas and he went to one of the tabloids and said he wants to help a GB team at the World Cup, would the FA be able to stop it?

    My other thought is that I could see Sir Alex Ferguson retiring in 2012, just in time perhaps for him to be manager with Beckham as No. 2?

    • Craig

      @colin

      You touch on something I have never understood about the Olympics. I thought it was a celebration of ‘amateur’ sport – the reason why boxers who turn professional can’t then compete in the next Olympics. How then can ‘professional’ footballers, basketball players etc. represent their countries?

  • henry vincent lewis

    Ah yes Craig!
    I forgot about the French!!

    Henry.

  • AltrinchamAndrew

    Back to my post of 2 days ago re Leeds united having already been sold. Purely coincidentally mentioned this to one of my clients yesterday who spends a lot of time on business in India. The word is that Anil Ambini , worlds 4th richest man, has bought a Northern club, currently not in the Premiership, with a “large Asian community close by” Apparently deal done but under wraps. This came directly from very senior manager who works in that organisation. Appreciate it may be wishful thinking but let’s see what develops; if we do go out and actually spend some money which is of course not Ken’s normal behaviour it may show we do indeed have at long last attracted a new Investor. I work in Investments and am staggered that noone has yet bought us; Leeds with it’s brand, history, passionate fan base, no debt once we do get back into the Premiership will be worth greatly more. The beating of Manu in January was beamed around the world , made both the sports programmes and main news. With £10 million spent on new players the return is £80 million once you achieve promotion.
    Anyway let’s see what happens; we will be sold either now if the right deal for Bates comes or once we’re back in the Premiership.

    • TheReaper08

      @AltrinchamAndrew Two words Premier League, that’s the reason why we haven’t been purchased by a serious investor. For most rich people the prosepct of owning a football club is to make a statement, a sort of look at me if you will. No good if your not playing in the league that’s being beamed to umpteen countries around the world.

  • henry vincent lewis

    Interesting Andrew.
    I heard about another Indian business man eyeing Blackburn Rovers.
    It is too good to be true that it would happen to us!!

  • pete

    Couldn’t be Burnley then?