Gradel to Newcastle United and other silly season rumours TSS January 5, 2011 Leeds United 40 Comments Mad Max When rumours of a player’s value quadruple from £1.5m to £6m in the space of four days, you know silly season is in full swing as speculation linking Max Gradel with a move to the Looney Toons continues. The Gradel rumour started on Sky Sports who are rarely too far wide of the mark so you can pretty much guarantee that there is some interest on Newcastle United’s part. However, the figure of £6m seems to have originated on Caught Offside who fail to name any further sources so I think it’s fair to say there’s a little journalistic exaggeration being used here. That said, this is the Mike Ashley led Newcastle United battling it out with the inflation-boosting Ken Bates – in a battle between these two chairmen I know who I’d expect to get the better end of the deal. Mike Ashley appears to have learnt his financial expertise from Plymouth Argyle’s “advisor to financial stability” Peter Ridsdale, whilst his football knowledge no doubt comes from the same people who own Manchester Franchise Soccer Team PLC. Mad Max is one of the most frustrating players I have ever seen on a football pitch, but his moments of magic change games and his recent performances have been a major contributing factor to our recent run of form. Whether he’s worth £6m or not is for someone with a calculator and a stat-book to decide, but at that price i don’t think it’s an offer we can turn down – especially with Lloyd Sam and Sanchez Watt just as capable. Jonathan Woodgate I flexed my faux-journalistic muscles a little on this one and harassed some credible people to see how much truth there was to the rumour. It seems Simon Grayson is indeed interested in bringing Woodgate back to Elland Road but there are numerous obstacles that leave the move hanging in the balance. Not least of these problems is that Woodgate may choose another club rather than risk abuse and ridicule at Elland Road where many fans will be reluctant to forgive his part in the whole Majestyk saga. On top of this, there is also fitness concerns from Leeds United who don’t want any more dead-weight on the books. Any move would also depend on length, as it’s believed Grayson is looking for a central defender to take us to the end of the season, but Tottenham may prefer a short team spell so they can use him themselves later in the campaign. Alan Smith This rumour has received a fresh injection of ridiculousness courtesy of the Max Gradel Looney Toons link. Whilst it’s not unfeasible that Alan Smith may return to Elland Road, anyone expecting him to be anywhere near the player he once was is quite frankly deluded. Aside from the obvious fitness problems and the fact he’s a shadow of his former self I just can’t see this ever happening. The last time Alan Smith came to watch Leeds United play, he sneaked in under the radar and sat comfortably behind a sheet of bulletproof glass wearing a surprisingly convincing fake moustache and beard ensemble to avoid detection. OK, so I’m exaggerating ever so slightly, but Alan Smith wasn’t naive enough to expect forgiveness when he returned to Elland Road and he did ensure his visit was undetected by the crowd. This is because he knows there’s a fair percentage of Leeds United fans that will never forgive him for committing what they see as the cardinal sin. Matthew Kilgallon Currently on loan at Middlesbrough, but being linked with a move to Doncaster Rovers, Kilgallon hasn’t been linked with Leeds United by any of the usual sources but it does seem an obvious move from Simon Grayson who is desperate need of a defender. I’m assuming that Killa’s loan spell at Boro isn’t going quite as planned with the suggestions he may be ready to cut it short, and if that does happen, I’d be extremely surprised if Leeds United weren’t immediately linked.