It’s a happier than usual new year for Leeds United, primarily because the transfer window opens without fear of losing key players and with the distinct possibility of signing new ones.

Already this morning The Whites have been linked with moves for QPR duo Clint Hill and Shaun Derry while the usual rumours of key players leaving are notably lacking.

Top of Neil Warnock’s agenda this morning will be to secure longer stays for the loan signings he brought in when GFH’s takeover of the club was confirmed. The Leeds United manager has spent the last month playing down suggestions Leeds will be making some big moves once the window opens, but has admitted he’d like to sign a new striker.

Poor performances against Nottingham Forest and Hull City over the Christmas period reaffirmed the belief amongst Leeds United fans that reinforcements are desperately needed if the club are to secure a long-overdue promotion back to Premier League.

However, Neil Warnock would be wise to tread cautiously, after all, for every Luis Suarez there are ten Zoran Tosics; “Zoran who?” I hear you ask – he was the £7m winger Manchester United signed in 2009, never to be heard from again.

Tosic serves as a cautionary tale of transfer windows past. The problem with the system introduced to English football ten years ago is that it promotes panic-buying. It’s 30 days of chaos in which managers scramble to prepare their squads for a grueling 4 month finale, never certain of how they’ll stand when the window draws to a close.

Despite the potential for panic-buying, it’ll come as no surprise to most football fans that almost four times more money is spent in the summer. The reality is, for all the hype and expectation of January, squads are rebuilt during close-season, rarely midway through it.

It may be an uncomfortable truth for Leeds United fans, but Neil Warnock is unlikely to deviate from that script. He’s been in the game long enough to know that January isn’t a buyers market, clubs are so desperate to retain their best performing players that prices multiply and the only ones available at a reasonable fee are unwanted outcasts.

With that in mind, few managers will be looking for major reinforcements. Instead, most will see January as an opportunity to tweak their squads, to bring in cover for injured and under-performing players or to find replacements for those heading elsewhere.

Glamorous, “statement of intent” signings are unlikely. What we’re more likely to see is a couple of additional players brought in from the fringes of Premier League teams. The likes of Shaun Derry and Clint Hill fit into that category, though it is the most regurgitated rumour of the last 12 months so fans can forgiven if they treat it with some amount of scepticism.

Whatever happens over the next 31 days, you can guarantee the volume of rumour will massively outweigh the number of signings Leeds United secure. The big test for GFH isn’t how much money they can throw at the squad to try and appease the frustrations of Leeds United’s supporters, the big test is how they handle themselves in a situation so conducive to outright madness.

If Neil Warnock has highlighted potential signings available for a reasonable fee then GFH must deliver. But the priority should be looking after and securing the quality players we already have, while the biggest test for GFH will be how they handle the increasingly ridiculous demands of our fanbase. “What d’ya mean we haven’t got £10m and £150k a week for a new striker? Not good enough!”

Happy New Year everyone. Here’s to a successful 2013. On and on…

29 Responses

  1. Paul Longden

    I do look at our squad, and even after the shambles of Saturday, bringing in a central midfielder, with a passing ability and some creativity has to be priority. As for striker that Neil seems to want, Jay bothroyd could be available.

    • JDC

      I for one seriously hope not Paul … if Warnock is allowed by GFH to bring in Shaun Derry and Clint Hill he might just achieve what Ken Bates failed to do … keep me away from ER. I would much rather see the young players from the development squad be given an opportunity than bring in more of yesteryears players, though I would like to see Michael Tonge back.

    • Matthew

      To be fair. Age means nothing if you still have the skills. Ryan Giggs made us look stupid in our last game against Scum, and he’s now 39 lol

  2. ben young

    need a back four with experience for the premier league, also why does warnock insist on playing paddy kenny, whos on and off performances are sometimes left wanting. jamie ashdown could do with an extended run in the first team to give paddy the kick up the bum he so rightfully needs!

    they will never be any big money signings for us in this league so forget that, warnocks wanting a new striker?? so whats wrong with mccormack, diouf, somma is now back. he seriously needs to be looking at our main weakness, the defence who has sooooo many holes in it its like a condom thats had a hedgehog roll over it!

    rant over

    • Matthew

      Can’t really blame the goalkeeper when we have no consistency at the back. You need the same decent players playing week in and week out to form that relationship with the keeper and become one defensive unit.

  3. Chareose

    Before we start spending money we need a new manager on a 4 year contract and with a long term vision…. but no we know that wont happen so will bumble on in a failed promotion attempt and have to wait till the summer

  4. igiveup

    Did you see Clint Hills performance on Sunday against the Scousers…oh dear! @chareose, totally agree with you there

  5. Tyler75

    First of all its finally a relief to approach a transfer window without discussing which of our better players will be leaving. What do we need ?
    Midfield creativity – George Boyd or McGuggan from Forest would fit the bill
    Pace up front – Frasier Campbell on a season loan if we can get him
    Solid left back with pace – No idea but not Ian Harte !

    • Ron

      Without discussing? All I have heard this week is that Sam Byram will be bid for and Becchio the same. I fear we will get the old reverse new signing spiel from Warnock and GFH if they repel outside interest. Expensive window or not, the fact of the matter is this squad and our tactics are not consistent enough to get promoted. If GFH actually want promotion, action is key.

  6. Nick Gordon

    Please please please ,get us a midfielder. Am I the only United fan who thinks our number 17 Michael Brown needs to be shown the door
    Cant run with the ball
    Can’t pass
    Can’t head
    Can’t plug the massive hole we have
    Can’t shoot
    Can’t score
    4-1 down against Forrest and he’s seen with his hand on Kennys back enjoying a laugh
    That’s commitment us fans don’t want!!

    ENOUGH SAID !!!!!!!!

    • JDC

      No you’re not Nick … Brown’s only the first of a number of players who need to be shown the door and never be allowed to wear the shirt again. The OS first team squad list states that we have 34 players and to follow Brown, add … Connolly, Rachubka, Pugh, Varney and Gray for starters, probably to be followed by Kisnorbo, Rogers and Nunez.

      NW states that he’s looking for a strikerto put pressure on Luciano … why? 17 goals is no bad return for the first half of the season and there are capable alternatives ala McCormack, Somma, Poleon. Seems to me that the problem lies in midfield … even Lionel Messi couldn’t score given the service the strikers have been given in the last two games.

  7. igiveup

    If we lose today Colin should do the decent thing and walk. Then get a new gaffer in before spending any brass. @Tyler75:disqus we might not be discussing our better players leaving but it don’t mean it won’t happen

  8. Irving08

    TSS: Your journalistic instincts appear to have deserted you. The debate has moved on from player recruitment to the Manager and to strategy. Let me put three questions to you: What evidence do you have for imputing ‘ridiculous demands’ to our fan base ? Why should our new owners deliver anything to a Manager who does not know if he wants the job beyond this season ? What wisdom is there anyway in recruiting yet more ‘premier fringe’ players ?

    • TSS

      Ridiculous demands – we’re football fans, we seldom do realistic.

      As for the manager, I think you’re right that a decision should be set in stone now as to whether he’ll be here next season. Fringe players from the Premier League are not necessarily a bad thing, (Thomas for example has done well), but they always represent something of a gamble. But then, doesn’t every signing?

      • Irving08

        Well, we agree on the Manager question.

        As for Leeds fans, my impression is that the ‘base’ (which I would guess to be over ’45s), is realistic to the point of being stoical. A Currie or two would keep many of us happy; a Sheridan would do nicely as well.

      • TSS

        Think we need wingers personally, we’ve never properly replaced Max and Snoddy. No idea why NW thinks we need a new striker, but maybe he knows something that I don’t. I’ve basically given up on the idea of having a defence, I’m sure it’s psychological, we’ve had far too many previously good defenders fall to pieces at Elland Road now for it to be anything else.

  9. Marvareemo

    We desperately need a new centre forward, someone who wins headers, holds up the ball and brings other players such as Diouff and McCormack. While Becchio’s goals this season have been a real plus this season, his general overall play is just not good enough. The ball never sticks to him, the ball comes straight back and doesn’t allow our midfielders to get into the game, putting our defenders under long periods of pressure. Becchio does work his socks off, i commend him for that, but hard work is the minimum requirement.

    • henrymouni

      “The ball never sticks to him”.

      The ball rarely gets to him!! LOL

      His number one job is to score goals.

      What do you want?

      Is 18 goals, in a team full of crap, not good enough?

      He is also one of the best at defending and clearing corners from our box.

      Apart from the odd penalty and handball!LOL

      “and doesn’t allow our midfielders to get into the game”

      Our midfielders do not seem to like getting in the game.
      They run away from the ball – ask our defenders.

      The service they give him is a disgrace, and our lack of a good winger or two does not help either.

  10. Dr Zen

    Actually, I’d like us to spend some decent money and put in the quality we need. Colin’s done okay on a shoestring but come on, match our ambition a little bit, just a little. It would actually be a bit exciting for once to buy someone we hope is decent. I’d rather gamble on a Tosic than buy another plodder like Derry.

  11. Lufc1978ish

    We could have messi ronaldo and iniesta playing in our midfield and Colin would still get fatty kenny to kick it up to becchio to try and hold up. The problem isn’t our players (although a few are needed) the problem is how we are set up tactically and the football we are playing under Colin.

  12. Tare

    IMHO this is the time where we see the true colours of GFH. Mr. Patel said in the news conference that they are not going to spend crazy money. What is crazy money then; I remember well enough when Allan “Sniffer” Clarke was appointed as Manager and he bought certain Peter Barnes for ridiculous 900 000 £ money mow that was really crazy money and it would be serious dosh even in today’s figures. Barnes was soon to be forgotten after several passenger shows in the Whites shirt.

    What comes to “increasingly ridiculous demands of our fan base” well after 8 yeard in the desert you tend to seek for the dwell to drink your thirsty away so I am certainly one member of those band of brothers.

    But today it is first game of the year 2013 so lets get behind the Whites and continue speculations afterwards.


  13. Matthew

    What’s needed.
    Creative midfield player, Winger, Defensive midfield player, Striker and Right back.

    • TSS

      Just wingers for me.

      I don’t know why Warnock thinks we need another striker. Somma’s back and we already had McCormack and Becchio, two of the Championship’s finest.

      DM is Rodolph Austin, Paul Green looks solid there too and I bet Norris could do a job. Absolutely no need for one of those.

  14. MisterAvic

    Zoran Tosic has actually been doing quite nicely for himself at CSKA Moskow, managing to keep the wonder-kid Dzagoev out of the starting lineup. No question he was a bust at United, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t still walk on to Leeds and be the best player in the squad.

  15. sg90

    Why? Those signings would be a joke! We badly need some pace and creativity in the midfield more than anything. I’d look at McGugan at Forest and Wallace at Burnley, then Dawson from WBA at the back. Maybe try and get Denis Suarez on loan from Man City, would be a great addition.


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