Elland Road

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.

Richard Dunne

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.

Jermaine Beckford

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.

Bradley Johnson

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.

  • Adrian Taglietti

    If we get, don’t care who he is as long as he does good! Including Smith, as PL said he was persuaded that it was the best move to benefit Leeds financially, he was in a rock and a hard place situation. Regarding Bradley, let him go,his mistake….

  • richard

    mmm, so pretty much all but the O`brien deal is bollox.

  • Tim Wilsom

    Top scoring team in Britain doesn’t need strikers. I liked the idea of Smudge, but watching him against Tottenham he does seem to have lost his spark. I’d take Richard Dunne, and will be happy with AOb.

  • trueyorxman

    Matt Tubbs! Michael Johnson! Two ‘Tubbs’ then…

  • Tim Campbell

    As regards ramon nunez all I will say is a few appearances as sub hardly gave the lad a chance to make an impression

  • Paul South Wales

    Richard Dunne would be a good acquisition as for woodgate, hell’s teeth! Our physio would leave if he limped up here

  • orangina

    Smudger has lost his spark because he’s not playing for Leeds any more. Get him back in the white shirt and who knows….he’s passionate about the club despite what a vocal minority say about “that” move and I think against all odds it might just be a goer.
    Don’t shoot me for it, just expressing an opinion.

  • Gryff

    Poor old Woody.

    One thing I wonder is: if Simon Grayson wants to always play the same central midfield (Kilkenny, Howson, BJ) why is he letting BJ’s contract wear on?
    Am I correct in thinking Kilkenny’s contract’s more or less the same expiry as BJ’s?
    And if this IS the case then if we release Faye & Nunez, who do we play when BJ & Kilkenny leave and all our targets wanted ‘unrealistic’ wages or tried this Satanic thing called ‘contract negotiation’ that Batesy/Grayson seem so confused by?

  • KohSamuiWhites

    All hail Alan Smith,the savior of Leeds United.What utter nonsense.I can understand Peter Lorimers fellow footballer “best interests of the club bollocks” but personally i,m not buying it.Alan Smith wasn,t good enough then,and certainly isn,t good enough now.I must be one of the minority along with all my mates who don,t ever want him in a Leeds shirt again.Oh sorry that makes us not proper Leeds fans i suppose.There,s always a choice,he chose the scum,you make your bed and you,ve got to lie in it.

  • Matt BB

    i could see us getting in someone like Matt Tubbs, another youth team player bought `for the future’ in the mould of Clayton, we’ve also been trialling Zac Thompson from Everton, so another low key type acquisition there seems likely for Right Back. I think we can see Crowe being releasedbut I wonder whether people like Naylor or even Kisnorbo might also get released to lower the wagebill, and enable us to get in the central defenders we desperately need to support Bruce and O’Brien, we also need to hang on to McCartney.

    With no Kilkenny and Johnson and Faye probably going we need some solid midfield signings, as is pointed out plenty of muscle up front, but this is the one area we are very weak in, Kilkenny is no David Batty, and when he ventures back down under to play the footballing might of Indonesia, Christmas Island and the Cook Islands we’ll be left with probably only Howson in that area, and we all know he hates it!

    I’ve said it before and tend to get stick for it but I think we should bring back Smith in that role.

  • Max.

    There’s no point having Nunez and Faye around if the manager thinks they’re not good enough to play.

    I’ve repeatedly said I’d take Smith back in a heartbeat. Woodgate can stay where he is; having him limp round Leeds starting fights on our dollar feels like the worst case scenario.

    Of the above, Johnson seems likely as it’s being widely telegraphed by both sides, although apparently there will be a commitment not to overplay him. O’Brien and McCartney maybe. Clayton could possibly come back to cover for Kilkenny in conjunction with M. Johnson. If Johnson and/or Kilkenny actually leave then we are looking for two midfielders. Bear in mind Kisnorbo should be back at some point as well, so I can see us loaning rather than buying defenders.

  • Matt BB

    absolutely, you do wonder at the wisdom of signing Nunez and Faye, the only argument I can come up with is that Johnson and Gradel have improved since they joined, maybe with one eye on their place in the starting line up?

    I think the Johnson loan is a probable, but cant see the value in an unfit player who we cant play very often?

  • Irving08

    We need two players: (a) a midfielder as an alternative to Kilkenny, preferably one with pace, but definitely not Alan Smith (who lacks it); (b) a central defender – probably O’Brien on a long term deal. We need to keep Johnson, who is now coming into his own. Without his tackles, headers and combative presence, a good Portsmouth team might well have beaten us on Tuesday.

  • Craig

    It looks to me like we are about to clear the decks for a promotion charge (letting short-term loans go along with Johnson and lots of contacts not being renewed including Naylor + Kis). The only sadness in my view is that Nunez didn’t break through but I wonder if he simply wasn’t up for the battle that English football requires.

    I hope we might see Johnson come in with the expectancy that we may sign him if we are promoted. If he gels I think Killa could find it hard to get back into the side and we’ll then lose him in the summer. It looks like we aren’t in the running for Dunne but I would love to see O’B and McCartney become permanent signings.

  • Craig

    For ‘contacts’ read “contracts”.

  • Max.

    Read earlier today that NUFC are proposing to bid for Gradel and Puncheon, and could secure both for “9 million pounds” – if that’s the case it will be goodbye Monsieur Gradel, but my suspicion is that this burst of stories is from Max’s agent, and we may see a contract extension in the near future.

  • Matt BB

    worst news this morning is that apparently O’Brien has held talks with Cardiff this week! get that blooming contract sorted Bates! He looks like a great prospect up front, two goals in his last two games..

  • Tim Wilsom

    Roll on February

  • Colin

    Everyone mentioned….. except Adam Hammill from Barnsley.Anyone know anything about this story ?

    • Tim Hodge

      @Colin

      Forgot about that one. Heard a while ago he was available for £500k to any bidder.
      Not sure how true that is but would be a bargain!
      Don’t know how he’d fit into the team though.

  • lufcboy

    Just read that AOB will join in Jan hopefully will find the right net from now on in. Joking aside will be a good signing. Great news

  • Chareose

    Adam Hamill would be an excellent signing and show some real ambition. Woodgate and Johnson on loan ??? well put it this way ; if just one of those two made even half the impact they made at the peak of the game it could be the difference of promotion……..and spurs might find it hard to get Woodgate back if he hit form with us………

    Go on simon be ambitious

  • Colin

    confirmed – andy o brien signed on 2 and half year deal, despite better offer from cardiff. As for newcastle – apparently they only have 5m to spend, so can’t see them spending too much.