The stated aim when the transfer window opened was to retain the talent we already had and only add proven quality capable of improving the first eleven.

Losing Kasper Schmeichel, Bradley Johnson, Neil Kilkenny and most painfully, Max Gradel with only Andy Lonergan coming in and proving to be an improvement means Simon Grayson has failed. There’s no two ways about it, however close he may have come to securing additional players and however frustrated he may be, he has to hold his hands up and accept the summer transfer window was an epic failure.

But that’s all water under the bridge now. It’s happened and there’s absolutely nothing we can do to alter it. Once again we’ll be relying heavily on emergency loans to provide the cover we need. At least until January that is when we get to go through all the fun and games again.

Before we get to that however are more pressing matters. All the players we lost this summer left cheaply or on a free because of our failure to tie up contracts in time, leaving ourselves vulnerable.

Neil Kilkenny and Bradley Johnson are two players we should have received a couple of million for. Both were first team players last season in a squad that narrowly missed out on the play-offs – even if we only received a few hundred thousand each for them, it’s always better than them leaving on a free.

Max Gradel and Kasper Schmeichel meanwhile were perhaps our two most valuable assets, but they left cheaply because we put ourselves in a position where we either sold now and accepted some cash, or let them follow in the footsteps of Beckford, Kilkenny and Johnson and walk on a free.

The above examples are why it’s so worrying to see so many players with less than a year on their contract.

Contract Expires 2012 

  • Ben Parker
  • Aidy White
  • Michael Brown
  • Lloyd Sam
  • Jonathan Howson
  • Ramon Nunez

Michael Brown isn’t too much of a concern obviously, and it remains to be seen whether or not Ben Parker can keep himself fit long enough to be of any use to us.

But the rest of the players on that list are important to the first team. Fears of shining light Ramon Nunez walking away on a free following an excellent season at Elland Road capturing all the headlines are all too believable after the conclusion of the long-running Jermaine Beckford saga.

Ken Bates did say the club were in talks to extend Ramon Nunez’s contract in his most recent radio address but there has been no mention of club captain Jonny Howson thus far.

The club will obviously be aware of the situation and are probably (hopefully) in the process of getting these deals done. But after failing so miserably in contract talks with a whole host of other players, patience is running thin amongst fans.

Alongside those whose contracts expire in 2012 there are another thirteen players whose contracts expire at the end of 2012/13, with only Luciano Becchio and Andy Lonergan contracted for the next three seasons.

  • Shakamoto Insurance

    Why would any of those players sign a new contract with Leeds before the end of the season?

    If I was any of those players and approached by Leeds for a new contract, I’d ask for £25,000 a week. Leeds will say no. Then just wait until the end of the season and let your agent do his work. And go to the highest bidder or use the highest bidder to barter a better offer from Leeds.

    If Leeds can afford to pay Paynter £12,000 a week, then they can afford to sign up those players on a hell of a lot more.

    LUFC’s contract strategy just doesn’t work. if we’d offered Gradel the £25,000 a week that he wanted, then we could have flogged him for £4m at the end of the season. Let’s say that cost us an extra £750k in wages this season, we’d have still made £2m more selling him at £4m, than at the price we just sold him for and we would have kept him until the end of the season.

    If there’s teams out there that can outspend Leeds right now and offer better wages, then there will still be teams out there than can outspend Leeds next season and pick up the likes of Howson on a free.

    Howson gets a £25,000 a week pay day on a 3 year contract. A rival gets a quality player for free and Leeds get nothing.

    Losing those players is only down to one thing – the club’s stance on contracts and wage structure. That has to change, otherwise they’ll all be gone.

    Oh and by the way, the allure of playing for Leeds United has now gone, so that counts for nothing. The only thing players know about Leeds now, is that you’ll be paid a shit wage and if you hand in a transfer request, they’ll sell you.

    • Tim Campbell

      Mr Shakamoto my most honourable friend, You have splashed a little water of realism upon our misty rose-tinted eyes. It is hard to face up to the reality of the situation, and I suppose its easier to ignore the cold hard facts and bury our ostrich-like heads in our sand bunkers. I would love to believe there is a wind of change stirring up at elland road after the recent ‘openness’ of chairman and manager; but alas even my optimism does not extend that far

  • Gryff

    I agree Grayson failed in his aims. But then Keogh’s an improvement on BJ (in 4-4-2 for 4-5-1), Clayton’s an improvement on Kilkenny, Nunez is an added Bonus, Lonergan is much better than Schmiechel, and Kisnorbo and O’Dea are handy additions.

    I think the squad’s better this season than last. Losing Max is a big loss, though…

    Sam, Howson, Clayton, Nunez… Four very important contract negotiations coming up….

    • TSS

      You’d have to add White to that list too as he’s currently the best option we have at LB and looks capable of becoming an important player for the club – probably further up the field mind 

      • Duval77

        Andros townend and Ryan betrand on loan this week and we’ll be looking pretty good?

        • TSS

          Meh. At this moment in time I’m finding it hard to believe we’ll have anyone in by the end of the month, never mind the weekend. 

  • Conehead

    I cannot for the life of me work out what the hell is going on at Elland Road. There seems to be no game plan from either Bates or Grayson. If you let Johnson and Kilkenny go then you go and and buy players to replace them. Not wait until the transfer window is about to close and try and get players on the cheap. Grayson said there were 3 or four players he tried to sign so why wasn’t it done earlier? Because Mr Bates tried to get them on the cheap that’s why. Other clubs with more pulling power ( and bigger wages ) landed those players and made us look stupid. That’s why Puncheon held out and signed for QPR at the last minute.

  • Guest

    We succeeded in replacing Kilkenny and Johnson so I don’t know what people are on about. Brown came in to play a defensive midfield role and we promoted from within in the forms of Clayton.

    • Shakamoto Insurance

      So Michael Brown is a replacement for which player – Kilkenny or Johnson? Because as I recall they played pretty much most of the games last season and Brown isn’t playing for us this season, because he’s shit.

      So as I see it, Brown has replaced nobody.

  • JH

    It is absolutely terrifying. There seems to be absolutely no long termism about the place, and I can’t understand why they aren’t urgently trying to re-negotiate with Nunez, Howson and Clayton! Otherwise we will once again be building the team from bottom up, and you can bet we’ll have the same problems. 

    The reality is that if we don’t nail Clayton down now, he’ll be on his way in the summer for free, because he is already drawing attention from higher paying rivals. Lets be honest, the kudos of playing for the club has long since gone as we struggle our way through the lower leagues, arguably showing less ambition than the likes of Bristol City, who appear to be able to offer more financially than ourselves.

  • Pete

    simon grayson said new players in by weekend at lord harewood dinner today

    • Shakamoto Insurance

      To be fair, Grayson has said that every dinnertime since the beginning of August.

      • TSS

        Haha, at least he’s consistent 

  • Dave

    Saying that Grayson has failed is a bit unreasonable. You could say he had failed if he had brought in a load of duffers in the summer (a la Bessone and Paynter last year) , but his inability to bring in players is far from being his fault.

    We all know who has failed us here…

    • TSS

      I stopped short of attributing blame but the way the club is being run clearly plays a part. 

      But Grayson has failed in his stated aims regardless of who is to blame. He set out his goals at the beginning of the window and has failed to achieve them. I’m his biggest fan, but that’s the reality of the situation.

    • Gryff

      Who?

      Grayson’s been given money to play with. He’s signed Lonergan &
      Rachubka – two very proven Championship keepers, Brown – a proven
      Premiership midfielder in his day -, Keogh & O’Dea on loan who have
      both experienced top division football…

      And his money isn’t even all spent. He almost had Puncheon, he almost
      had Kakuta on loan, he was in negotiations with two Premiership
      left-backs.

      He’s admitted to being on the phone all day and to having lost a handful
      of good players simply because the draw of Premiership football put
      Leeds out of the picture.

      He had money to spend, he did his best, and he failed when all is said
      and done. I sympathise with him, but he’s not getting the best of
      reputations in the transfer market…

      • Shakamoto Insurance

        Agreed Gryff. 

        How’s this for an idea? Maybe if you want Puncheon, why not try talking to him a little bit earlier than the day the transfer window closes?Grayson is completely responsible for not getting the players.

        • Rollo

          Yeah and how about your crook of a chairman gives you the backing to do that…..  or compete against other clubs.  mackail-smith had talked to premier clubs but chose a championship club with ambition

          lonergan and ratchuba have experience at championship level ratchuba was 3rd choice at blackpool, lonergan a former tip for the premiership lost his place last year

          brown is past it and has hardly set the world alight, keogh and odea are on short term loans

          all this adds up to once again a squad lacking in quality and depth.

          all this we are running it as a business crap had better stop too as i dont see how letting your player of the season go for less than 2m is good business

          I dont know why people are still looking for answers or people to blame when for the past 6 years bates plans have been there for all to see.  Fom the moment he bought us and plunged us into 15m of debt, you have to be a complete idiot not to know the score

          if you want this club to progress on the field and off it then there is only one thing to do and that is to put as much pressure as possible on to this old thief until he sells up makes his profit and goes.

    • Gryff

      Who?

      Grayson’s been given money to play with. He’s signed Lonergan &
      Rachubka – two very proven Championship keepers, Brown – a proven
      Premiership midfielder in his day -, Keogh & O’Dea on loan who have
      both experienced top division football…

      And his money isn’t even all spent. He almost had Puncheon, he almost
      had Kakuta on loan, he was in negotiations with two Premiership
      left-backs.

      He’s admitted to being on the phone all day and to having lost a handful
      of good players simply because the draw of Premiership football put
      Leeds out of the picture.

      He had money to spend, he did his best, and he failed when all is said
      and done. I sympathise with him, but he’s not getting the best of
      reputations in the transfer market…

  • Larrylong

    adam clayton’s contract isn’t up in 2012. I am 100% sure he signed a 3year deal last year so wont be up until sept2013. That being said I think the lad is a future england midfielder and should be signed up on as long a contract as possible now as the lad will be worth a fortune in a couple of years.

    • TSS

      Contracts always run until the end of a season even if they sign midway through a campaign so it won’t be September, it’ll be June. 

      Have removed until I get confirmation but I’m pretty sure his contract expires at the end of this season – http://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/en/clayton/profil/spieler_73067.html

    • Think Larry is right, Clayton did sign a 3 year deal.

  • Ron Galea

    Fair commentary. We have said for a while that if Grayson is being stopped by Bates in the transfer market that the right thing to do is to resign, or risk calls for your head after the team underperforms. I appreciate it can be a tricky business with agents and politics playing a part, but Grayson seems incredibly unlucky in the transfer and I think we all know why we keep missing out on players – money. I guess we have to stop ranting about our embarrassing situation and actually do something about it. Write a letter to Tory MP Damian Collins and ask him to go after Bates. Bates can claim he’s a white knight and the ‘owner’ of Leeds, but there is no value in a club without fans. I can’t fault the players thus far despite a poor start, but we can fault the administration and WE can punish them.

  • Jonesy

    Parker, Brown & Sam can all go for me…. Sam is a decent squad player but will never be a regular, Parker can’t stay fit and when he is ‘fit’ he is out of his depth, Brown will be too old next season. God help us.

  • Anonymous

    Dear All,

    How many times do I have to explain this to you?  Don’t you read my column in the programme?  I am running Leeds United like a business, football has absolutely nothing to do with it. We know that if Simon sent out 11 donkeys in Leeds shirts you lot will still turn up.                          

    My business colleagues and I are in this venture to make money and we are doing very nicely thank you. As you know we have made £10M in the past 2 seasons without wasting money signing decent players. Simon’ s brief is to bring in a couple of new faces, on loan or free, to show a degree of commitment, nothing too much in terms of wages and definitely no long contracts. We are investing in the club and soon you will be able to take advantage of the luxury corporate boxes in the East Stand.  

    All you lot have to do is remain loyal, join the membership scheme,don’t ask any questions, wear the new shirt(s), frequent the bars I have set up for you, keep buying tickets, I am offering a real deal to see Scum Reserves in the Carling Cup. 

    If you follow my simple rules I can’t see a problem.

    Must dash, got a flight to Monaco to catch.

    Yours 

  • Of the players on your list, only Howson, Nunez and White are important.

    Parker is the new  Woodgate without the ability, Brown is past it, and Sam is hit and miss.

  • Nash Dave

    When you trade on your name and don’t give out silly long contracts. You have to accept players will come in, work hard for peanuts and move on for a big payday….  

    That’s life outside the Premier League, unless you chance it like Cardiff and Boro did last year, or West Ham and Leicester are this year….  You have to accept players will use our name to make theirs….

    Beckford, Johnson and Gradel have done it..Clayton & Nunez will move to a Premiership team in the future if we don’t go up…

    Good news is that the next set of players see this happening and join us for peanuts to take their chance…

    We may not like it but unless Bates sells up or cashes in his chips its what will keep happening…

    All I ask is that we offer these players a new contract at Leeds for a reasonable Championship wage. circ 8-10k if they don’t want it then let them decline it publically and good luck to them….