Neil Warnock’s major surgery is reaching its end-game with just 22 days to go until the opening match against Wolves. With the takeover still not completed, and Leeds facing cash-flow issues under the current ownership, Warnock hasn’t done a bad job so far. Warnock, who famously assured Nigel Clough:

You’ll never see another Leeds United or Neil Warnock team like this again

has allowed five players contracts to expire this May. He has since sold Adam Clayton and Andy Lonergan for a combined total of around £800,000. Meanwhile, the wheeler-dealer has signed Adam Drury, Paul Green and David Norris on frees, as well as signing Jason Pearce, Paddy Kenny and Rodolph Austin for a combined total of around £1.3m. And while Warnock was desperate to keep want-away midfielder Robert Snodgrass, who told Norwich he “jumped at the chance” to sign for the bookies’ tip for relegation, the reported £3m-plus-variables fee, with £1.5m up front, will prove vital in his bid to create a hard-to-beat team capable of a consistent push to promotion.

Warnock has told fans of his determination to find 3 “icing on the cake” players to turn an upper-mid table team into promotion contenders, and already looks set to use £800,000 on the long awaited capture of Leicester full-back Lee Peltier (whose price has risen by about £500,000 in the past month thanks to the lack of cash available to the gaffer) to round off probably the strongest Leeds defence since Gary Kelly retired. Next on Warnock’s list is a quality striker and he will have the funds to capture a good one. Links to Leeds continue to include Jay Bothroyd, Jermaine Beckford, Craig Mackail-Smith and Nicky Maynard.

Warnock said:

We don’t know what’s going to happen with Ross [McCormack] and I want to strengthen that area by getting lads who we know will score goals in the Championship. It’ll be a relief when we sign someone of the calibre I’m looking for.

With interest in several transfer listed players including Billy Paynter and Andy O’Brien, and with McCormack possibly leaving, and about £3m already in the ‘warchest’, Warnock will look to sign the quality that differentiates a promotion chasing team from an upper mid table one, and the next couple of weeks could be crucial to Leeds’ hopes next season.

But let’s not forget the importance of the January window. It is vital Warnock is given what he needs this summer, and with new owners waiting in the wings he probably will receive the money from player sales for once. But the winter window is a vital follow-up to the summer window. Warnock was active for QPR in January 2011, bringing in 4 players to help the club over the line, while last season’s champions Reading also brought in 4 players to help their surge to the title.

Leeds signed Andy O’Brien while releasing six senior players in 2010-11’s winter window, and Robbie Rogers signed while we sold club captain Jonny Howson in 2011-12. The winter window will be another crucial period for the club, and with Bates apparently on his way out, it looks like we might finally have the backing we need all year round to mount a serious promotion challenge next season, and we should have the stable finances to build on this season’s campaign should we fail

  • wyla

    great article, no whinging and plenty of optimism, i salute you good sir

  • HUnsletWhites

    It will be very interesting to see what NW calls “icing on the cake” players.. Cue the music for MacArthur Park!

  • Lee B

    I can’t help but think that KB will pocket the money from the sales of Snoddy and Ross (when he gets sold) just before finalising the takeover.

    One final payday for him and a last-day Yorkshire salute to all of us morons.

    I still can’t stop being depressed…

  • Tyler75

    Warnock deserves credit for doing a fine job so far under difficult circumstances. Agreed Tim that the back 5 (with Peltier)looks like being the strongest we’ve had for a while; add to that a midfield of Norris, Green, Austin and White that looks more robust than anything we had last season and with plenty of firepower. I’m pleased the Snodgrass deal is now done – very talented player and I enjoyed watching him but the transfer saga was overshadowing NW’s team building. From a playing perspective, while we will need to replace his ability to unlock defences, I lost count of the times last season when the team just gave him the ball and expected him to work some magic – as the opposition got wise to this, they just put 2 players on him and our attacking threat was automatically neutralised. A quick, proven goalscorer is obviously on Warnock’s radar, irrespective of what happens with McCormack – I trust him to come up with the goods, particularly as he now has the resources to do so.

  • lufc10

    Still think Bates is playing us all for mugs. He will want more money at the last mo, the takeover will collapse, he will have sold the crown jewells and we will be stuck with a laughing papa smurf. slowly destroying the club he hates ( Re 1984 statment)..Bates out

    • Lee B

      Amen to that…

  • BeckfordEnd

    Wonder who NW will make captain now? With several journeymen joining, there’s a few contenders – however there’s potentially a certain risk in appointing someone who’s only just joined the squad. Out of the players who’ve been at Leeds for a few seasons and aren’t transfer listed, most are either too young (Lees, White), squad players (Brown, Kisnorbo) or about to be sold (Ross) – in my eyes this leaves only one man remaining: Becchio!

    • Jumblatts

      I dont think becchio will get it, personally i think it will be between kenny and pearce, my money being on the former simply because warnock knows what he will get from him. Would like to see it go to pearce in a few years though, and it no doubt will

  • lloyd

    THERES ONLY ONE CAPTAIN FOR ME AND THATS PEARCE

  • Alf

    Good reasoning BeckfordEnd – i myself have been pondering the same question, but with his previous experience in the position and the poster boy for the ‘new’ Leeds I would be tempted to name Pearce. Perhaps we will find out tonight…

  • Tare

    Positive thinking is paramount in any business, after all LUFC is in entertainment business and is profitable in it. but in real life bad news tend to spread like lighning. So TIm my best wishes for this is season is like hacked in to a stone we will promote this season 2012-2013. NW has been his usual honesty in words sofar and can’t wait for this cherries come to the top of the Colcake. Tare

  • Andy

    TSS – may i say well done to you for this cracking article.

    TIm being a realist & expounding some genuine & realistic optimism is just what LUFC fans need to hear.

    I just wish some of the no marks on JA606 would sit up & take notice rather than simply derride NW & our vreat club.

  • LUFC FOREVER

    Great article, I believe things are looking very positive at the moment, obviously like any other Leeds fan I am praying that the takeover goes through as soon as possible, but I think that NW is doing a fantastic job under the circumstances. It’s good to see positive and optimistic articles like this instead of the usual doom and gloom people post. Warnock is building a hard working, determined team, that with the addition of three “marquee players” there is every chance of a promotion push this season. I read people saying that the takeover fell through ages ago, if that’s the case then why are we spending money, we never have done before, although I know we have just compensated through the sale of snodgrass and probably McCormack, but bates has never spent any money without sales being completed first. I’m glad snodgrass has left, he was a good player but no one is bigger than LUFC, if he “jumped at the chance” to join Norwich, then more fool him, will be priceless at the end of the season when we pass Norwich of the way up and they are on the way down… We all have to be positive and support Warnock and the boys, whether the takeover goes through before the season starts or not, MOT

  • doubleb lufc

    Good article which was nice to see in view of all the negativity surronding us at the moment on various websites.For the 1st time in many years im optimistic about this season and we actually have a manager who knows what he`s doing in this division and with the know how to get us out of it..Fair play to him for sticking around cus Bates must be a right nightmare to work for…Im my eyes the defence is becoming rock solid,right back permitting, which will happen,solid midfield taking no prisoners…So a right back,winger and good striker will have us challenging for promotion without doubt so NW is doing a great job in the market..MOT

    • mrbigwheels

      Good article Tim and positive progressive comments doubleb lufc.

      There is too much niggle/nitpick in the fast moving pre-season assembly.

      Well done Warnock. Can’t think of many who could cope with Bates, rebuild a team, attract players that have the desire, passion and commitment we need and presently with very little cash to do that.

      It may seem short term rebuilding to some but what other options has he got until some cash is signed over. He can’t bank on being handed a wad tomorrow but the ‘bigkick off’ is 20 days away… and so he’s just got to get on with it.

      I’m confident he’ll achieve what he wants with the next three and who knows… He may surprise us all and reveal a personal contract extension with new ownership.

  • Dr Zen

    I’d certainly be much more optimistic if we bought Mackail-Smith AND Maynard. Competition up front! Either one would be great. Then put in some guile in midfield and I think we will start to look like we have a competitive side. When you look at what he’s bought so far, you really can’t go much further than “we should be hard to beat”.

  • Allan Winterburn

    Definitely a much more robust defence and a midfield that is not only robust but can score a few goals too to back up the strikers. Buying Mackail-Smith and Maynard would be a dream but even one of them added to the squad would be a bonus. Peltier and possibly Templeton would be excellent additions to make the Whites a team to be feared once again. I think ER is going to be a fortress again and be a massive improvement over the last two seasons. I dont see the likes of Blackpool and Barnsley coming there and scoring hatfuls. I really am looking forward to the next three weeks to see who Mr.Warnock brings in and the start of the new season which will end up with automatic promotion.

  • doubleb lufc

    Connor Wickham coming on loan would be a great move,usual Ipswich linked with everyone but can still do no good whoever they get….Come on NW Wickham would be a great addition and Snods fee could easily cover his wages

  • Lisburn White

    doubleb, apparently Warnock isn’t a fan of the loan market, but I too would like to see young Wickham here on a season-long loan. V good player in the championship. As for the strikers we’re being linked with, I’d take Beckford and/or Maynard over Bothroyd or Mackail-Smith.
    Good article Tim, feels like something really positive is coming our way this season. MOT!

  • Peter

    I do appreciate some of the quality thinking on this website. On the whole it is supportive and the crticisms are constructive and well informed, so thank you to everyone for maintaining and perpetuating decent standards.