With the season nearing its conclusion and Leeds United’s fate still undecided, it should could come as no surprise that Premier League clubs are already eyeing up our prized assets.

In the last few weeks alone, Max Gradel, Jonny Howson and Robert Snodgrass – the cream of Leeds United’s current crop – have all been linked with moves to Premier League clubs should Simon Grayson’s side fail to get promoted.

The interest in these players is something Simon Grayson and Leeds United will have expected for a while. All the players mentioned are highly capable footballers of a young age that have already gained much first team experience.

Whilst it seems unlikely that any of the afore-mentioned players would leave Leeds United for the likes of Stoke City, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility either.

I sincerely doubt any of these players would want to leave an ambitious club for one that is content to make the numbers up in the Premier League, but the sad reality of football is that it’s a business like any other and while ever Leeds United are in the Championship, Stoke City have a financial advantage. Whilst it may be easy for Ken Bates to reject the couple of million Stoke City would scrape together, it won’t be easy if other clubs declare an interest and a bidding war begins – especially with Ken’s Vision (TM) well under way and lacking the World Cup funding they were counting on.

Snodgrass has already stated publicly that he has no intention of leaving Leeds United and that he wants to follow in the footsteps of other Scottish legends Eddie Gray and Peter Lorimer who had long and very successful careers with the club. However, he also conceded that should Leeds United want to sell him, there would be little he could do to prevent that.

When you take into consideration that the last accounts Leeds United published showed we only made a profit due to player sales, you have to accept that we’re temporarily in a position that makes us a selling club – whether that means we have to sell our star players, or those that are surplus to requirements is debatable.

Throughout Ken Bates’ time as chairman of Leeds United Football Club, he has continually tried to reassure the fans that the manager has his total support when it comes to the transfer of players. So far, we’ve had no real evidence to support or disprove these claims. Some have argued that Fabian Delph was proof Ken Bates will sell if the price is right, but in the Chairman’s defence Delph wanted to leave Leeds United and play Premier League football. There’s no point keeping a player that wants to be elsewhere.

If we do fail in our bid to achieve promotion this season, then the summer transfer activity will be extremely interesting. If the Chairman really is as ambitious as he claims then keeping our best players – none of which have expressed any desire to leave – shouldn’t be difficult.

I’ve made no secret of my absolute and unremitting hatred of Ken Bates, and I make no apologies for that. I wasn’t a fan before he arrived at Elland Road and claimed to “save” my club and he’s done little to impress me since. However, this is one of those rare occasions where I’d be happy to hold my hands up and accept he might not be the completely evil money-sucking leach I like to portray him as, if only he can stand by his promises and ensure our key players remain at the club for the benefit of the long-term, rather than a short-term cash boost.

  • Tomjones

    Wait till you get to the Premier before you slate your superiors!

    • TSS

      Wasn’t actually meant to cause offence… Well, I was quite constrained compared to what I’d usually be anyway.

      My point was more that Snoddy won’t have his head turned by a club that isn’t going to do anything ever. There’s a chance a bigger team could lure him in, but it definitely won’t be Stoke. Sorry guys, it just won’t.

      And I really do mean no offence by that, I just can’t explain it any other way. Until Stoke are capable of doing something a little more interesting, they aren’t going to attract players like Snoddy. He’s better off at Leeds.

  • peter

    Hope you know this story first surfaced in the Daily Mirror last week.
    They would try anything to upset our run in, expect more like this from the scum of all tabloids!

    • TSS

      That was my point to an extent Peter. The interest is unavoidable. Whilst the headline was Stoke’s interest, I was trying to paint the bigger picture that bids for these players are an inevitability if we aren’t promoted.

  • Matt BB

    I hate to say it but given the recent wadges of cash being spent on the east stand i fully expect snoddy, gradel or Somma to go this Summer if we dont get promoted, It would be a real waste someone like Snodgrass going to a bottom feeder like Stoke.

  • focus8

    I doubt any of the players will state publicly that they want to leave us. But players like snodgrass and especially their agents will have their eyes peeled for any premier league suitors. If we dont get promoted it will be very hard to keep the likes of snodgrass etc cause they would jump at the chance to earn more money and play at a higher level. It would be sad to loose any good player but hopefully we will get a decent return not let them go free like Beckford.

  • Shaun

    We had is arguement other week howson to wba I think. Anyway I dont think any leeds players would jump ship for club In premiership or any other major league unless Tht club was in europe or have aim to be in europe and if there agents recommend Tht to join bottom or mid table teams there on drugs plus I dont fear stoke coming in liverpool the major club in the market for a winger. Anyway I dont think come to Tht I have confidents in us gettin up is season

    • focus8

      And you think that snodgrass, howson, gradel etc would only be tempted by clubs playing in europe. And you think if west ham, everton, newcastle or villa came knocking they would turn it down. They are unproving at premiership level and we can see how much Beckford found it difficult to keep a place in the everton squad. Going to a mid table or lower premiership club would give them more playing time. So hopefully for us they are on long contracts or really attached to Leeds Utd.

  • saltburnwhite

    Im very worried about the strength in depth of our squad come next season if we dont get promoted and our four best players leave on transfers schmeichel , snoddy , howson and gradel.

    The squad looks very weak and paper thin if the worst happens and we sell all our best players , personally i think howson will stay .

    but apart from that i think all the others may go which would leave us with a squad that looks like this after all the departures…..

    POSSIBLE SQUAD FOR NEXT SEASON BEFORE ADDITIONS:

    DEFENDERS

    BRUCE
    PARKER
    BROMBY
    LEES
    O’BRIEN

    MIDFIELDER

    SAM
    HOWSON
    CLAYTON
    HATFIELD

    STRIKER

    PAYNTER
    BECCHIO
    SOMMA
    MCCORMACK

    OUTS ALMOST DEFINATE

    HIGGS FREE
    DAVID GONZALES RETURN
    NAYLOR FREE
    LICHAJ RETURN
    MCCARTNEY RETURN
    WATT RETURN
    BANNAN RETURN
    NUNEZ FREE
    LIVERMORE RETURN
    GRELLA SOLD

    POSSIBLE DEPARTURES

    JOHNSON FREE
    KILKENNEY FREE
    KISNORBO FREE
    GRADEL SOLD
    SNODGRASS SOLD
    SCHMEICHEL SOLD

    ANYONE ELSE A BIT WORRIED BY THIS SQUAD IF THE WORST COMES TO THE WORST!!!

  • ILKLEYWHITE

    More speculation by the pride of Manchesters own “The Daily Mirror” once again a story breaks at the business end of the season and its trying to unsettle the club, dont read it.

    But let’s face it, Snoddy would do well in the premiership, let’s just hope its with Leeds then we dont have to sell.

    MOT (lets start with a win against Forest on Saturday)

  • chris from wakey

    Looking at the remaining fixtures we will have a serious struggle to stay in the play offs unless it goes pear shaped for a few of the teams closely bunched around us.

    But assuming we get to the play offs then we have to win enough games to get to Wembley to get promoted. Does anyone honestly say they fancy our chances if this happens? Sadly Leeds United and cup finals don’t mix well.

    So, at the risk of being a doom-mongerer, I doubt we will get promoted this time round. IF we had have brought some quality players in earlier, and paid the going rate for their skill levels, and turned half of the drawn games into wins then we would have been in second spot by now and nudging QPR for the title.

    Instead we have failed to speculate as we should have, presumably because of the clubs wages policy, and consequently we will miss out when the chance to win back-to-back promotion was within our grasp. No one with a working brain could advocate a return to Ridsdale-like gambling on big wages but have no doubt we should have pushed the boat out just a bit more to give us a chance of winning, not drawing, more games.

    I am not criticising our squad because most of them, most of the time have worked hard but we have simply lacked more beef in midfield and more quality in defence and the comments on the internet blogs show that I am not alone in this belief.

    I’ve already renewed my very expensive season tickets and I’ll still go to Elland Road and I have to say that the football been far better this season than in League One. I also have to admit that if we finish just below the play off places then in real terms we’ve done well – BUT we could have done better with the benefit of a relatively small investment in the squad.

  • Flummoxed

    @ Tomjones

    PMSL @ you, you daft clot!
    TSS, don’t apologise mate.

  • Mike

    TSS says “I’ve made no secret of my absolute and unremitting hatred of Ken Bates, and I make no apologies for that.
    I wasn’t a fan before he arrived at Elland Road and claimed to “save” my club and he’s done little to impress me since.”

    Yet if I make any criticism a million miles away from absolute and unremitting hatred, of Larry you make out I am a half wit! Get a grip TSS, the fault lies with the MANAGER who is simply not managing, you cant simply keep tripping out the old fucking excuse about lack of cash, Larry has a great squad who he is largely responsible for putting them together but he is quite simply NOT a MANAGER!
    And my guess is he definitely will not be if he continues in his inept attempt at being one. And to get back to the subject, the players are not fools, they will know they cannot win following his selections and tactics.

    • TSS

      Oh shush you. :-p

      The manager has us in the play-offs and got us promoted last year with no money from Mr. Chairman. Our “saviour” meanwhile is building a bleeding hotel in Beeston

  • Irving08

    I disapprove of Ken Bates on ideological grounds, but I don’t hate him; in fact, I rather like the man. I also clnside rhim an able man. As to our manager, I quite like him, but have my doubts about his ability: good up to a point would be my verdict. Put it like this I would swap him for Gus Poyet any day. He seems not to have an eye for a good player (witness his signings),nor does he have a clear view on how to set out a winning side (witness his chopping and changing formations). In a mediocre, if close division, a club like ours with just some of our players (and minus the manager’s duds, should be, if not running, then walking away with the title. Next year will be much, much harder,in view of who is likely to come down, and who is likely to come up. There is, however, still hope for this year, and it is US. 90 minutes non-stop support for eight games might just be enough in this poor division to see us snatch second place from Norwich.

  • number1inyorkshire

    stoke city are 1 of dozens according to dom matteo in his column .

    They will be watching him and others and rightly so HOWEVER snodders is one of those who can and will play at the highest level ,sorry stoke that discounts you straight away you are nothing but lumpers .
    to be fair it discounts half of prem league so don’t be on abusing us now ,lol.

    lets be right snodders will be better of at leeds its not all about money at his
    age what is he 23 ,he has time

  • Colin

    Snodgrass would be no good to Stoke and Stoke would be no good to Snodgrass.

    It wouldn’t work.

    Snodgrass is excellent, but he does have his bad days. He’s completely reliant upon having the support from team mates helping him out. And it’s not about skill, it’s about respect.

    Snodders has always been at clubs where he has the support and respect of the other players and I think he knows only one way – full throttle.

    He needs to be at a “big” club and this is no disrespect to Stoke, who have a better team than Leeds. That’s no contest.

    But I think he thrives on being first choice and loved by the fans and his teammates, and that’s what he get’s at Leeds.

    He’s got his rough edges and the roar of the crowd and the love-in he gets at Leeds gets the best out of him. He wouldn’t join a team where he would be a so-so player.

    That’s not knocking Stoke. It’s just that I don’t think he knows how to play for a draw.

    Equally, he is massively covered and supported by the likes of Howson, who can help to calm him down.

    I think he would be bored by the challenge at Stoke and for that reason he wouldn’t take it. I just think he’d rather be at a club where he is valued as a ‘special’ player rather than a squad player, which is what he would be at Stoke.

    I think he wants to be at a club where he can be a figurehead and appear on Sky Sports sofa chat-ins and he gets that at Leeds, but wouldn’t get that at Stoke.

    He knows a big fat cheque is coming his way soon – whether Leeds sign it is another thing, but he won’t be signing a Stoke cheque.

  • tim campbell

    In spite of many pre-season predictions that we would do well to consolidate this year – I would be massively disappointed if we didn’t at least make the play-offs. Looking at the league overall this season automatic promotion could have been a real possibilty. Whilst we have been very entertaining in the amount of goals scored, I think we would all have to agree that it has been goals conceded which has cost us dearly this year. The game against Forest if won would give us a little bit of daylight with 7 games remaining. As for Snoddy he will stay at leeds unless Mr Chairman decrees otherwise

  • Matt BB

    I also happen to think that our run in is absolutely awful. We have lost the initiative and dropped points against the likes of Ipswich and Sheffield United, were we had the capability to win, we now have to get points fom Nottingham Forest, QPR, and then people like Derby and Crystal Palace who will be happy to settle for a point when we need 3.

    I appreciate that we really needed to come up to consolidate but we had a great chance this season, have a good squad with players who have by and large stepped up to the mark in the championship, and we’ve let it run away from us.

    If we do make the play offs, and I dont think we will, we will be up against the very teams we have struggled against recently, Swansea, Cardiff, Norwich, they all appear to have our number so no joy there I’m afraid, Cardiff for instance we just seem to turn to jelly when we play against them.

    As per usual I note MikeLUFC slating the manager, but its not all doom and gloom. It would have been entirely coneivable for us to have come up and struggled, to be where we are is still a testament to both manager and squad, so its important we remember that.

    We are two central defenders away from being a great championship team, and have potentially several £m coming in if we do sell gradel, snoddy or Luciano, lets hope as ever that the cash goes towards rebuilding the squad as opposed to a bl**dy travelodge on the corner of the east stand.

  • tim campbell

    Agreed matt, its not wholesale changes we need, but rather a couple of quality defenders as well as a no nonsense defensive midfielder just in front of the defence. Statistics cannot lie and the fact remains we have conceded far too many goals this season

    • Old Billy White

      Agreed Tim, a couple of centre backs who are dominant and good footballers would make a world of difference. Also the holding player infront of the defence, it was obvious for a long time that this was a problem area, with other teams running straight into the heart of our defence.
      However not all doom and gloom, have seen loads of goals this season, (not all at the right end!), and some very entertaining football. I would rather see 3-3 than 0-0, and if we don’t go up, which I think is a tall order looking at the remaining games, and our lack of consistency we may well get another good season next year.
      I also fear that promotion will bring back the Premiership supporters who may not get behind a struggling team in the bottom six. I think the majority who have stuck with the team through the 1st Division and Championship would be more realistic in their expectations.
      Having said all of that, there will be some upsets in the last 8 games and if we are lucky and win 4 and draw 2 it may be enough, then in the playoffs who knows.

      • tim campbell

        The thing we have in our favour billy this time round, is that if we make the play-offs we will not be going in as favourites – and as we all know favourites very rarely succeed in the lottery of the play-offs

        • TSS

          But we also know Leeds never succeed in the play-offs.

          • tim campbell

            A point that has not escaped me TSS old chap. I am not saying this time will turn out any different(if we get there), however I for one know that we have already exceeded all expectations thus far this season – so there’s no reason to assume that it might be any different in the play-offs PS I am trying to build a case for the defence here (no pun intended) LOL

  • Jay

    Hopefully we go up and bates will sell up.

    3 points on saturday please lads.

    MOT

  • Irving08

    If we don’t go up, it’s odds-on Snoddy will be sold this summer. His stated ambition is Premiership ‘footie, and if he can’t get it now with Leeds, he will (and should) go. He has to put a huge amount of effort in to make the most of his skills (due to a lack of athleticisnm), and he won’t be able to sustain it for more than about another 5 years (maximum). Depressing, I know, but it’s the truth, I fear. Of course, if by a miracle we do go up…..

  • reiver

    All this talk of Snodgrass moving to the Premiership, I just can’t see it. He does have some great games but is yet to string together anything like a decent run.