Silly Season – Leeds United transfer rumour mill Tim Hodge December 29, 2010 Leeds United 22 Comments Who will be arriving at Elland Road and who will be departing? January is fast approaching and the transfer rumour mill is going into overdrive. With Leeds in such a good league position we are being linked with a host of Premier League players while some of our own are being linked with moves to top flight clubs. So which rumours look feasible and which are nothing more than a massive post-Christmas guff? In Alan Smith from Newcastle Many would like to see the return of the prodigal son, for others there are few worse possibilities. Having been hard pressed for opportunities at Newcastle recently, suggestions have grown that Smith could be making his return to Leeds. There is little doubt that he would be a good acquisition for most Championship teams and he certainly has the ability and desire to tough it out in this league but is he what Leeds really need? Whether he joined on loan or permanently he would easily be the biggest earner on the books and that can hardly be fair on the players who have scrapped and fought to get us where we are now. Aside from this, the last thing we need – when in such a good position as we are – is a division amongst the fans. Opinion is still divided on Smith, he is loved and loathed in equal measure. If he were to join, the inevitable disapproval would filter through to the players and would do nothing for the rest of our season. Verdict – Thanks, but no thanks! Jonathan Woodgate from Tottenham Another ex-player. Harry Redknapp has openly called him one of the best defenders in the country and the Spurs boss is keen for Woody to get back to full fitness and for that he needs games and a loan spell is seen as the ideal solution. As ‘Arry states, there’s no doubt that, when fit, Woody is a class act – Real Madrid didn’t sign him for nothing! With Leeds in dire need of a solid defensive unit, a move to the club he started his career at seems an obvious suggestion for Woodgate. However, it’s a well-known fact that successful defences are based around solid and consistent partnerships and if Woodgate is unable to play every game the required partnership is never going to materialise. The problem with defenders moving mid-season is the time it takes to integrate into the team and with Woody only available on loan it seems much more likely that he’ll head to an injury ravaged team that has no choice but to bring in temporary players – Wolves, West Ham, Sunderland and Blackpool are all more likely destinations. Verdict – It would be nice if not at all the best move for either party. Either way, very unlikely. Could Dunne be appearing in a white shirt soon? Richard Dunne from Aston Villa Reportedly having been involved in a training ground bust up with Villa assistant manager Gary McAllister, Dunne has been made available for transfer in January. The 31 year old joined Villa from Man City just over a year ago and despite holding the Premier League record (since football was invented in 1992) for the most own goals and most red cards, he’s certainly a quality defender if possibly slightly past his best. He probably wouldn’t get into a top Premier League team but there’s also little chance of the Irish international dropping down to the Championship. There are a host of Premier League clubs who would take him on, though if reports are to be believed, Celtic looks the most likely destination for Dunne. Verdict – No chance! Michael Johnson from Man City Possibly the most likely of all the rumours is that of Leeds fan and former mercurial midfield maestro, now injury ravaged beer swiller, Michael Johnson making a loan move to Elland Road. Having stated his desire to play for his childhood team and with next to no chance of him breaking into the Man City team in his recent condition it looks like a low risk, convenient move for all parties. With Kilkenny off to the Asia cup there could be a place for a central midfielder in the Leeds side. Verdict – Chances look good. Matt Tubbs from Crawley Town Who? A non-league striker you say? We had one of those once. Whatever happened to him? There’s a lot to be said for low risk gambles but do we really need another striker? We have plenty of strikers, two of which could be “the next Jermaine Beckford” – going by the names of Davide Somma and Mike Grella. Tubbs, 26, has scored 15 league goals this season – heading into his prime as a non-league player. I thought we were aiming for the Barclays Premier League not the Blue Square Bet Premier League! Verdict – Not happening. Could Beckford really be back at Leeds so soon? Jermaine Beckford from Everton Has he not hit the 20 goal mark yet? Who would have guessed? Rumours surfaced that David Moyes was willing to send Beckford back to Leeds on loan to boost his confidence and get the striker firing on all cylinders. Verdict – A-grade rumour mill nonsense. Andy O’Brien from Bolton He came in on loan and immediately proved a calming influence on the back line. He’s the type of experienced player that could be vital should Leeds find themselves in a serious promotion push as the season progresses. He has spoken out about his limited chances at Bolton and seems to be angling for a permanent move to Elland Road. It’s not yet clear whether his newly discovered ability to pouch goals at vital times (for the wrong side) is going to affect his prospects. Verdict – An extended loan would be brilliant but as he’s available for free in the summer Bolton could be looking to cash in. Jason Morrison from Strømsgodset IF The Jamaican international midfielder has been on trial at Leeds and played in a couple of behind closed door reserve friendlies. He is rumoured to have returned to Jamaica. Verdict – Maybe not, unless on a short term contract. Steve Morison from Millwall He looked excellent at the beginning of the season and is obviously a talent Millwall would be reluctant to lose. However, I’m not sure if this rumour has any serious grounding and a 27 year old striker is probably the last thing we need. Verdict – Unlikely. Out Max Gradel to Wigan/West Brom The Ivorian has been on top form recently and his performances have reportedly attracted the attention of Premier League clubs Wigan and West Brom. He’d need a solid season of quality performances before a Premier League club made a move for him. With Gradel being under contract until 2012 hopefully his next taste of top flight football will be with Leeds United. Verdict – Unless we receive a ludicrous offer I can’t see him leaving. Would Bradley Johnson be missed? Bradley Johnson to Stoke/Bolton/Wigan/Rangers/Burnley Having stalled on a new deal, claiming all he wanted was equality; rumours of Johnson’s exit have been met with indifference by Leeds fans. And though he has responded better than most would have expected with some impressive performances, there are many fans that wouldn’t be too sad to see the back of him. It’s surprising that so many Premier League clubs are being linked with him with most fans believing his level to be somewhere around League One or Championship. Verdict – It’s bye-bye Bradley if a decent offer comes in. Ramon Nunez to be released The Honduran was signed on a short term deal that expires in January and, despite brief glimmers against Cardiff, he hasn’t made the impact many had hoped. Verdict –It seems unlikely that he’ll be given a new contract. Amdy Faye to be released Like Ramon Nunez, his short term deal is set to expire and he hasn’t made much of an impact. Verdict – Probably won’t be around for much longer. Lubo Michalik to Carlisle He has openly played down his future at Elland Road and is certainly not in Simon Grayson’s plans so would probably be open to a permanent move or possibly an extended loan deal to Carlisle. Verdict – If Carlisle want to stump up the cash or extend his loan he’ll leave. I’m sure even more players will be linked with a move to Leeds but hopefully Simon Grayson has some targets in mind to keep our season on the right track.