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.

  • Mike

    Doesn’t matter what he sells for it will not be reinvested in playing staff or any of the other things the fans are interested in so why bother except the fill the chairmans boots.

  • Paddy1992

    Smith is a shadow of his former self? That comment alone says it all about why this once massively overrated striker whose bookings outweighed his goals should never ever wear the shirt again. Average at best in his prime. If Newcastle want to pay 6m for gradel then let them, personally I’d be disappointed though if we got less than 3 and not a massive fan of Sam. Lastly I’d have woody back in a breath when fit was the best centre half we’ve had in my lifetime possibly 3rd ever behind hunter and charlton.

  • Mike

    Oh! and as for smithy, he probably will not be anything like he was but he will have a whole lot to offer, maybe we can pay his wages with the profits from Max. I would go for that.

  • Matt BB

    i also thought the kilgallon thing had legs when i saw him mentioned in the papers, i mean why on earth would any decent sort of player want to go to Doncaster? Kilgallon has championship pedigree and with youth and fitness on his side would be a sensible signing, moreson than woodgate.

    Smith, well I’d snap him up, again might not be able to cut it in the EPL any more but proven at championship level with Newcastle.

    Would I swap him for gradel? no way, but i would listen to offers for Paynter.

  • Max.

    Smith – anyone who saw him play last season at Newcastle should admit he can do a job as holding midfielder in the Championship. Nobody is expecting him to be a Champions League standard striker.

    Woodgate – personally I wouldn’t take him; I’m in the group which hasn’t forgiven him for the Majestyk (and subsequent idiocy when he went to Newcastle). Kilgallon – from what I hear he is not getting on with Mowbray. Mr Grayson seems to have a good relationship with Steve Bruce (though he’d better start giving the boy Bruce some games) so I agree it’s a possibility, though I could see a Premier League team trying to take him.

    Gradel – sounds daft but I wouldn’t write it off. The reasoning is that Pardew managed to convince Ashley he brought a ton of knowledge of the lower divisions, which he can use to build up the squad on the cheap. Strachan used a similar argument (but substitute SPL for EFL) at Boro. I suspect the number though is something smaller and with lots of riders on appearances, goals, etc. The thing that makes me suspicious is, if you even knew Leeds (not even the rest of the EFL) and knew that Bates was willing to sell players, why not take the far more reliable Snodgrass?

  • TSS

    @Max.

    Because Snoddy is a bit like Howson and says he wants to become a Leeds legend. There’s always certain players at teams that can’t be moved, so I reckon he may know it’d be a waste of time. Leeds would never sell him, doubt Snoddy would leave.

  • Irving08

    6 million for Gradel would only be good business if we could buy Adam Hamill and David Wheater with the proceeds. With these two I think we would go up – yes it will take players of that quality to get us there. Simon does not have a good record when it comes to signing players of quality. £6m will enable him to show that financial constraints are the reason for a succession of poor signings. I suspect that, if Sam';s injury is half serious, that he will try to buy Puncheon if Gradel does go to Newcastlle. God (or Allah) save us from any ex-Leeds players.

  • Tim Campbell

    I agree TSS that if we got £6M from Ashley for ‘mad max’ we’d bite his hand off – would be a massive payout on what we paid for him. He has always has the talent but not always the ability to count to ten. I see we have been linked with various strikers as well which I think we can definitely take with as much salt as the local chippy has to offer. A couple of decent midfielders and a good centre back and I think we are there. Since it is silly season I was almost expecting old goldenballs his self to be linked with us haha

  • EYLeeds

    I’d snap anyone’s hand off for £2m for Gradel on the condition that it was invested straight back into the team where we need it, i.e. defence and central mid.
    I’m a huge fan of Woodgate’s ability but don’t see what a short term loan will do for us. By the time he is match fit he will be off back to Spurs and we’ll be stuffed again.
    Although our squad is big, it is so unbalanced in terms of attacking vs defending qualities, but Grayson is no fool and I fully expect him to address it before the end of Jan.

    • badras

      and someone should slap u for even thinking that crap

      • badras

        about gradel is what i mean

  • badras

    i cant see gradel been sold . i would take woodgate back to atleast fill in until kisnorbo returned and as for smith he has just helped newcastle to promotion so i would take him back for sure. im sure bates will open his pockets abit wider now that we are were we are its time to push for promotion so i can see him putting 3 mill on table for 2-3 players depending on bradley johnson which we will prob get that money to spend aswell

    • badras

      we still have the rest of money to come for delph aswell

  • Tim Campbell

    On another point this whole issue of Sanchez Watt being able to play in Saturdays game is opening up a whole lot of whoop ass on the gooners websites – they can’t work out how the decision not to let him play earlier in the week has now been reversed

  • assuming Newcastle are in the market for players,is it because they think they are in danger of relegation or because they think they can push for europe.i don’t think either is true,
    i can’t see mike ashley gambling that amount of cash unless it involved a player exchange of some kind.leon best is a non starter,i don’t think alan smith is a goer either.
    mike ashley can’t wait to sell andy carroll for 50 million £ and the club and get the hell out of the place.

    i would say a yes to Matthew Kilgallon though over Woodgate any day of the week.either a loan or buy,not fussed right now,
    ken bates needs to give his piggy bank a shake.pronto

  • West Stand Rebel

    As we are talking silly season rumours, I read in the match programme that we are now “debt free” . This from a certain tax exiled spin doctor. Strange that as the accounts tell a different story in that should we reach the Premier League before 2017 ( not I hope an impossible dream ) then £5 million is due to be paid to someone ….I believe it maybe one of those pension funds Mr. Ridsdale was so keen to borrow from!!

  • Mark R

    This is an indication of our poor scouting network, which I thought had been sorted.

    Of all the players in Britain & Continental Europe the runours and our talk is of 3 ex Leeds players returning ?

    Our Scouts’ ability to find talented experienced players is woefully short.We need to cast our net further afield.

    Northern Europeans, Scandinavians, Central Europeans always seem to adapt well.

    Come on Leeds Scouts & SG – up your game in player recruitment stakes.

    MOT

    Mark

    • Will S

      The Leeds scouting network does seem very limited given and SG’s transfer record is actually quite poor, ignoring the loan signings.

      But Woodgate/Smith’s, if not Kilgallon’s – whatever happened to him? – are working overtime. Neither are good enough for us.

  • Karl K. Carstensen

    @Gradel..

    I agree with Paddy1992.. If Max goes I hope we´ll get at least £3 mil.. And I hope we´ll buy a new midfielder.. Of all the names mentioned I hope for Michael Johnson from Man City. A young guy with prospects for the future…

  • Colin

    We could do with a midfielder in Kilkenny’s absence who would be willing to stay back and work hard for the team, but could also distribute the ball.

    David Beckham’s looking for a game… :)

  • steve underwood

    If newcastle want to pay 6 mill for gradel i will carry up myself yes he is a good player but if they are stupid to pay that for a player who is a miss more than hit then so be it.Now regarding smith yes i would take him,woodgate he might play a couple then miss same we need a settled defence so no leave him there.Now for killgallen get him now plz,has for other players anyone who can at least defend a bit,not sure obrien is the answer after all we are still conceding silly goals so grayson plz give bromby another go looked good against QPR

  • TheReaper08

    @banditsteve Funny I said similar myself to someone earlier. If the Toon want to pay £6m I will collect and deliver.

    My only clause is that the funds are used on team development.

  • steve underwood

    @reapero8 I dont think even newcastle are that stupid to pay 6mil then again,well i dont think he would be that badley missed watt can player out there who i think is a better player.I see a few people having a go at paynter lets give him a chance a least till the end of the season.Now on to sat and arsenal game any one else really worried about this game and wat they could do to us i know i am a really heavy defeat could put other players of joining us if we get thrashed,if cardif can play through us then wat will arsenal do lets hope im wrong

  • Simon

    Can’t understand why people think Woodgate coming back would be so much better than Smith. For me its Woodgate that committed a cardinal error not Smith. The former beat someone up in Leeds, dragged the club through the mire and is basically a racist thug. The latter moved to Manchester United- not my favourite club- but did so because the Leeds Board were desperate for the money at the time. Even if you didn’t believe the last part about Smith and even if he chose Manchester United: I’d rather have a player playing for Leeds who at one point wanted to play for Manchester United, than have a player playing for us who is basically a racist scumbag.

  • TheReaper08

    @Simon I agree that Woody comitted the bigger crime but football fans can be fickle on some things.

    For me it’s easy to pick between Woody and Smith, Woody is a quality football player.

  • Will S

    Woodgate and Smith?

    A thick numpty with the brain cells of an ameoba, not Ameobi, and a player of limited ability the modern game has left behind?

    Easy to say no thanks to both these non-entities.

  • Irving08

    Please everyone forget Smith and Woodgate – they would do nothing for us. Raise your sights …

  • Colin

    @Simon @TheReaper08
    Woodgate was convicted of affray. That’s got nothing to do with racism, and by the way all those bullshit accusations were put to bed by the judge. So you’re 100% wrong on that one – you can’t say he’s a racist. If you and I scuffled in the street and started throwing punches then that might be affray. If I’d actually landed a punch on you and mildy hurt you, then that could be ABH. Affray is not a serious charge in any way shape or form.

    Woodgate needs a little bit of support and I’m going to give him it. He was a young man accused of all sorts of stuff by the media and the ‘victim’ and that made him physically sick – it hurt him. It was all unproven. His father also got nasty threats later from then Leeds board members telling his son to leave the club – read O’Leary and Ridsdale’s books for this evidence.

    As far as I’m concerned he got a rough ride from Leeds and he doesn’t deserve bullshit accusations thrown at him from people who only put together views from what they read in the News of The World. I wouldn’t wipe my arse on that paper.

    • TheReaper08

      @colin I don’t know what part of your comment is aimed at me but I am 100% correct.

      Smith leaving for Man Utd isn’t actually a crime (no matter what people think).

      Woodgate comitting affray is actually a crime therefore Woodgate comitted the bigger crime (no matter how trivial you deem affray to be).

      I didn’t pass opinon on him other than his footballign opinion so I fail to see your point to me. Other than that I actually agree with your comments.

      • Colin

        @TheReaper08 just included you as you were also in the conversation. I’m on the same wavelength as you, though I’m a bit more sympathetic to Woody.

  • Camaac

    That rumors of a Gradel switch to NUFC with Best coming to us sounds more interesting after last night doesn’t it?

    • Matt BB

      @Camaac – no it doesnt, we dont need another striker.

  • Si

    what an absolute load of Trash man – are you for real?

    Just because a court didnt find him guilty, it doesnt mean he wasnt?

    He is a racist thug and thats all there is to it – it was him and Bowyer who started the decline – not defending PR but you know what i mean

  • Matt BB

    @colin Albeit youre technically correct, the law is all about what can be proven beyond reasonable doubt, and the `intangibles’ such as inference, attitude etc in a violent act are nigh on impossible to prove.

    The incident in which Woodgate was involved was indeed heavily prejudiced by the national press, I lived in Leeds at the time and heard that many stories about what had `actually’ happened, and I’m not even going to go into that because i dont think it helps.

    The key problem for woodgate as many of the other posters are proving is simply the general `consensus’ & perception of jon woodgate, which is pretty negative, he appears to us all (and we can never truly know someone through the media) to have not shown much remorse, to have lived a successful and wealthy life since what happened, in contrast the club he left has fallen through the trapdoor and is only coming back 10 years later as anything like what it once was.

    I think youre probably right, insofar as Woodgateis no doubt a more sensible 30 year old than he was at 21 and unless he is some sort of sociopath will have his regrets.

    The real problem is most likely going to be whether he is prepared to face his demons, come back & again whether the fans will welcome him back.

    In pure football terms think about the likes of Marlon King, the coventry fans are going nuts for him when he scores the goals for them that have pushed them up the table ditto Lee Hughes, they have commited far more unspeakable acts (and have served custodial sentences)

    I am all for second chances, and would welcome Woodgate back, and why not in pure footballing terms he is top quality, if physically fragile? Kilgallon probably a better bet, but i really wish people would get over the bilge that the media spill out.

  • Mikelufc

    Your an idiot si
    Thats all there is to it! you have appointed yourself judge and jury and over ruled due process. No wonder LU fans get a bad reputation

  • Matt BB

    @Mikelufc well said sir, the law may be an ass, but it is the law and I’d rather be ruled by it than an angry mob.

  • Colin

    For me, it’s fairly straightforward, a footballer should be based on football and that’s it. If someone commits an offence, then take the punishment. Woodgate served his punishment. He hasn’t reoffended, so he’s fine by me.

    It doesn’t matter whether a footballer is a playboy or cocky or even a nasty person. He’s a footballer and fans should judge them on that. For example, I like Beckham because of his workrate, determination, loyalty etc. I don’t judge him on his wife or his tattoos or perfumes or what I read in Hello.

  • Colin

    Correction: Under no circumstances do I read Hello magazine. I was just using it as an example :)

  • TheReaper08

    @colin Too late mate, your secret is out ;)

  • Colin

    Oooo, just watched the press conference on LUTV – it seemed to me from the words and the body language that SG is open to bringing in Smith, Woody and Michael Johnson.

    He was given the opportunity to scotch the rumours but no. Is it up to Bates now to make the (financial) call?

    I didn’t think any of them was an option but after seeing that, now I’m not so sure. Have I misread the press conference or does anyone else get the same feeling that Leeds are open to negotiation on those three??