Shock as Whites sign player of genuine quality TSS February 21, 2014 Transfer News 33 Comments Takeover confirmed (though still waiting approval from the Football League), the first new arrival under Massimo Cellino’s ownership is Jack Butland, who, not so long back was earning his first cap for England. There’s been some suggestion Paddy Kenny has been carrying – or recently picked up – an injury which made Butland’s signing a matter of some urgency, but whatever the reason for his arrival before Cellino officially completes his takeover, I doubt many fans will be disappointed if he makes the starting XI on Saturday. Before I get into the reasons a lot our fans will be pleased by a starting spot for a player who only arrived 48 hours before kick-off, it’s worth noting that I really don’t rate Paddy Kenny and the fans I speak of are the growing number who seem to share my position. As with most things Leeds United, there’s by no means a consensus of opinion when it comes to Kenny, he seems to share a bit of an affinity with some sections of our fanbase who’ll insist he’s won us more points than he’s cost us, but his overall performance this season hasn’t been up to scratch. The same could be said of most our squad in fairness, and while I’ll concede that Kenny has been a fairly reliable keeper for most of his time at the club and still puts in the occasional top-drawer performance, he isn’t getting any younger and certainly isn’t improving with age. Sure, Kenny still makes the occasional game-winning save (which is his job, no?), but he’s been beaten far too many times at his near post this season, there have been far too many occasions when he simply doesn’t move to even attempt a save, instead turning to the crowd with some dopey grin passing blame to a defence who’ve protected him from more shots than most keepers have to deal with in this division, he has no command of his own area and I’d be willing to bet a taller, more athletic keeper would improve our defence more than any central defender can. Which is why I’m so pleased by the signing of Jack Butland. His clean sheet performance in goal for Barnsley when we met earlier in the season made me wonder why we hadn’t improved on Kenny sooner (GFH being skint, it turned out) and now we have him on our books, albeit briefly, our last line of defence has improved considerably. And it’s that significant improvement when we add to our current team that’s so vital if we’re to progress. It’s common-sense, I know, but common-sense has rarely been demonstrated at Elland Road these last few years because wasteful spending on pointless vanity projects followed by a lack of money has dictated our transfer policy. What we’ve done instead is constantly replace like-for-like, or worse still, proven quality with lesser or unproven players. At the time, the signing of Paddy Kenny felt like the suitable replacement for Kasper Schmeichel had arrived a year late, but there can’t be many people reading this who wouldn’t rather have had Kasper in goal this season? There’s other examples of our counter-productive transfer policies too, like Luke Varney coming in as the goal-creating force who could match Robert Snodgrass’ contribution. Or not, as it turned out. For once though, we’ve signed an indisputably better player than the one we’re currently fielding in his position. Whether that’s the Cellino way, or the McDermott-actually-given-some-backing way, who the hell knows, but long may it continue. As for Paddy Kenny, he still has another season on his contract so we’ll probably see plenty more of him, but at least he now has quality competition at the club which may well give him a second lease of life.