Leeds United completed the signing of Mirco Antenucci this week bringing the total number of strikers David Hockaday has at his disposal to nine.

While the likes of Noel Hunt and Steve Morison could be shipped out without anyone losing too much sleep and there’s every chance Lewis Walters and Dom Poleon will be loaned out at some stage, as things stand, The Whites undoubtedly have a surplus of forwards – unless that is, Cellino’s masterplan includes some kind of inverted Christmas tree formation (it could work!), in which case, 9 would just about cover the ‘2 players for every position’ requirement he set.

But when you’ve just signed a ninth striker and are still desperately lacking in other areas, Cellino’s system can feel very random, like we’re playing a game of casino slots, trying to hedge our bets by increasing the amount of lines and hoping one or two of them results in a big windfall offsetting the cost of the rest, and in many ways, that’s exactly what he’s doing.

Aside from Billy Sharp whose pedigree at this level is without question, Leeds haven’t brought in anyone who really gets the heart-racing despite the £11m sum received from the sale of Ross McCormack. Instead, Cellino has focused on players who are available for very little, he believes have potential and are young enough to command a high resale value if they manage to prove themselves by impressing in the English Championship.

This may sound like a negative slant on Cellino’s transfer policy (“he’s just buying a load of cheap players with potential he hopes to cash-in on later”), but it’s not a million miles from what he did at Cagliari and if we are to be promoted in the next couple of seasons, it’s probably the right way to go about things – if only because a promoted team is going to see a huge amount of player turnover and many of those we’re signing now will probably be shipped out.

With an average age of 24.7 years, a figure which includes 33-year-old back-up goalkeeper Stuart Taylor raising the average, most of the players we’ve signed have many years ahead of them, which is of course, a good thing. But there’s a lot to be said for experience, particularly experience which comes with proven ability at this level, for Leeds are at the start of a long Championship season which is going to serve as a steep learning curve to many of our new recruits and a few players who can come straight in and ease that burden would be hugely beneficial.

None of this means we should go out and sign the journeyman freebies of yesteryear of course, nor does it mean that unknowns (relatively unknown to us at least) with potential won’t get the job done, but a few more players in the Billy Sharp mold – good age, proven quality, experienced at this level – wouldn’t go amiss.

On and on…

  • spellz

    Well I must admit this transfer has got my heart racing a little as he does have experience and looks very sharp at keeping his line when attacking and more importantly being a clinical finisher, the question is where is the supply of the goals coming from? with little natural width in the team to supply the WHOPPING nine strikers at our disposal and us still being stuck in the past with a failing diamond system.

    It all leads to the midfeilders we are currently pursuing Adryan looks to be very creative and Sloth looks to be a solid playmaker and can finish too, we still are missing two natural wingers to change our shape when neccessary and more importantly to put the opposition on the back foot which we done so well under the Grayson era, which leads me too our quest to sign Agard which I still cannot believe he would pick Bristol City in a league lower and turn Down the mighty whites a decision that even left his boss at the time Evans totally bemused, he himself said given the options he knew he would have chose if given the chance but if his attitude was not right and turned up late for talks and so on then maybe it wasn’t meant to be.
    Lets just hope we can still work on adding some width to our quite bland system and see what our front guys are actually made of.

    M.O.T AA

    • Dr Zen

      With the players we’ve acquired and are looking at acquiring, you’d have to imagine we will play something like 4231. Something like Arsenal. But who knows? Maybe the Hock will persevere with the diamond until he’s sacked.

      • spellz

        I hope not for his and for our sake, we do have players now to be direct we should definitely be altering the positions in attack as that is where the goals are gonna come from.

  • Bluesman

    To Cellino every player is a financial and footballing asset i.e. Growth potential in footballing terms and in market value. There you have it! There is nothing wrong with this approach if it works, which it probably will. The main risk is in the first season when the young recruits are in the growth stage of their learning and experience or as some would say, at the bottom of their learning curve. We should at least expect several of them to go on and become top class players, which is what we will need when we return to the PL! It will mean that the transition at that level will be easier. Cellino is expecting to consolidate this year and challenge next year. This year tell him who will flourish at this level, who he needs to move on and where he needs to strengthen. The sale of Ross was the master stroke, enabling him to get young players in without breaching FFP regs! Very clever! Cellino says trust him,,so let’s get behind him. His money, his know how,

  • Chareose

    The problem is everyone keeps harping on about numbers of strikers but how many of those 9 are actually going to bag you 10 to 20 goals in the championship ?? 2-3 ??
    We have been buying strikers because at one point it looked like we were completely reliant on Smith. For me Poleon needs to go out on loan again………nothing needs to be said about Hunt, obviously a good lad but it hasn’t worked has it…… Morrison has always come across as if he doesn’t want to be at Leeds. Walters is no where near the first 11. So Antenucci ??? Smith, Sharp and at a stretch Doukara are possibly the ones your looking to bag the goals
    Ajose is neat and tidy but it remains to be seen if he can step up
    Agree on the transfer policy, Cellino is trying to mix it up…..some experience = Bellusci, Antenucci and Sharp, mixed with potential = Benedcic, Silvestri, Doukara and I guess Adryan and The Sloth, cook, mowatt would come into this category too……
    The truth is I think hes doing it the right way
    Even if only a couple of these kids hit their potential you would say it was successful business as they are all in and around the youth international scene…..
    That said we definitely need a truly quality and experienced midfielder with character and im not sure Bianchi is belligerent enough to fill that hole……. Cellino wont pay high wages so where are we going to find such a player ???

    • spellz

      Agree with everything you said there, though I think Bianchi given time may do great it would also be good to get Sloth so fighting over places can bring some true Charachter from them, I think we have been missing a real midfeilder who has the knack of playing both attacking and defensively and we are definitely lacking in that position where alot of influence comes from on the pitch and at the same time it would be great when we find him if he can take set peices because in that field it is just not happening for us.

  • Chareose

    By the way the other reasons why hes signing young players is because if we did get promoted they are the ones who would adapt to the premiership. You see it time and time again with sides who get promoted with a team of Championship vets…..straight back down again……
    The other reason is ofcourse WAGES ! Kids can be started on lower wages until they become successful and then hopefully they take the club along for the ride

    • TSS

      Could be a degree of that, certainly, but I think most promoted teams are going to ship out the majority of their squad and replace with Prem players and I wouldn’t expect us to be any different in that respect, there’s a lot of TV money to play with once you’re up there and Championship players are playing in the Championship because they’re not good enough to play in Prem (for the most part).

      But yeah, if a handful of them are capable of taking the step up it certainly helps.

      • Chareose

        for sure but youd hope a few of the kids can go to the next level
        TSS you hit on something without realizing it……. I so want us to get upto the premiership but I am so not looking forward to the obscene money being spent on players, the premadonnas……Ballatelli who cant put his own bib on…… I wish it was like it used to be before it got sick off its own wealth
        I hope Cellino can find a way to make us successful without having to pay out 20 million for each player

        • TSS

          I know what you mean, the older I get, the more I hate footballers. Love the game, hate the players.

          • TSS

            Though Balotelli amuses me (wouldn’t want him at Leeds mind)

          • spellz

            Really, you would not want balotelli TSS? at this level he would destroy defences I am not taking you to seriously there :)

          • TSS

            I know, he’s just so much hard work. As funny as his antics are elsewhere, I bet they’re annoying when he’s at your club.

          • spellz

            Yeah I get that but I would not refuse any world class player arriving here at this moment in time plus he’s Italian why not?

          • spellz

            Hes never coming anyway “chuckle”

          • Ev

            hes a complete xxxx ……..wouldn’t want him

          • spellz

            Nile Ranger….fair enough but Balotelli I would welcome anyday then the primadonna can piss off once he fires us into the promised land :)

          • Chareose

            yes its hard to explain…..its a feeling more than anything.
            I was chatting to a Man United fan where I work and hes completely disillusioned with football. Refuses to watch his team now…….. “All they seem to talk about is 60 mill for this player or 40 mill for him and you look at it and think REALLY ???!” You mean Man United and its vast overpaid scouting network cant find some players that have the ability to step at a better price than 60 million………He simply said the problem is Man U need players who are instantly ready for Champions League so cant blood kids anymore……….. That’s what happens when your club is bloated on success I guess…

          • TSS

            It’s also the only way the biggest clubs can remain the biggest clubs – by ensuring every top player is on their books.

            If they stop to take time out and develop a new generation (like Scum once did to their credit), they drop down the league, out of Europe, the cash dries up and someone is then sending offers they can’t refuse in for their top players.

            It’s a vicious cycle. Those chasing can’t refuse the big money offers meaning every time they develop a player of top quality, they’re going to lose him, and those at the top have to keep buying them to remain there.

            Modern football, hey? :-(

          • Chareose

            Spot on mate and clubs like chelsea filling their books with 40 or 50 of the worlds top internationals has helped damage the development of British youth players even more
            FA / Government need to grow a pair and legislate that each team in England has to play a certain amount of English players in the first 11 every game and also cap the amount of players you can have on your books at any one time…….. its the only way to sort the problem out.
            The premier league will never accept anything that makes their teams less competitive so it has to be done at government level. It will hurt us in the short term but in the long term you will start to see more English players coming through who are far more committed to their clubs than foreign mercenaries

      • spellz

        Bellamy really was, just a cut above anyone in the division having dominated premierleague defences with his pace it was just embarrassing at the time.

        • TSS

          Felt almost unfair. Was like fielding Messi in your pub team.

          • spellz

            Yeah wish he was born in Yorkshire, only reason he chose them over Man City for the season I believe.

  • Kevin Scorah

    I said at the beginning of June on this site that Cellino would fill our club with cheap, young players from Italy. I also said Cellino’s only concern this season was getting us financially viable, buying back ER and avoiding relegation. If he can do this without paying a recognized manager, and maybe ‘stumble upon’ the nucleus of a side, it would be a great 12 months.
    Nothing so far has made me alter this opinion.
    Removal of the Hock before we are 6 games in would definitely cause a rethink.
    Malky MacKay anyone?

    • Chareose

      disagree with some of what you have sais you’ve said. though I may have misunderstand………. lets analyse “cheap ” for a second…….. has he got much choice when it was pretty obvious that cellino would effectively have to replace the entire squad from last season……>>??? Have you heard off FFP ….he has no choice…..
      Hes not in England to avoid relegation, he knows Leeds is stagnating and expectant fans are gradually finding new hobbies to fill their Saturdays so I honestly believe Cellino is here to try to get us promoted, reap the glory and ofcourse the financial rewards that would involve……….why spend all the money he has to sit and wallow in the championship ?
      As for Malkay mackay….no thanks, the guy is an idiot based on the texting business

      • Kevin Scorah

        I do believe he wants us up, but not this season. He couldn’t afford a second squad overhaul in the space of 12 months – and that is what happens when Championship teams get promoted (see the TSS thread in this section).

        This season is going to be a ‘muddle through’ on the pitch. I am reminded of the theory that a chimpanzee (Hock?) typing at random would eventually produce a Shakespeare play. Seems more than a possibility given the amount of players we have !

    • Dr Zen

      I think you are right, pretty much. Except for Malky Mackay. No thanks.

    • Tim

      Malky Mackay is damaged goods like Ron Atkinson. Anyway, just another dreary scot.

  • JDC

    Didn’t Neil Warnock go down the experienced route TSS? Look where that left us, a load of ageing, overpaid journeymen who appeared to be looking for a quiet backwater until their retirement. Give me the youthful route anytime thank you, perhaps with a mid to late 20’s experienced midfield enforcer to hold the youth together.

    • TSS

      If you read the end part, I specifically said otherwise LOL.

  • Pacman

    Ok. From an old fogey who had been here since 1965, does anyone remember when we (the fans) were relegated 14 years ago? The players all joined premiership (or European) clubs apart from Gary Kelly plus two injured – Seth Johnson and Erik Bakke. So buying “premiership players” is a good idea? We’ve had 14 years of failure and if you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got.
    Innovation is what you need to steal a march on those around you. Go Massimo!

    • TSS

      Not sure I follow? I’m not saying we should buy Prem players now (or even after promoted), I’m saying once promoted you buy a different calibre of player to try and remain up there because there’s a huge gulf between the two divisions.

      • Pacman

        It seems to me the same players get recycled. When does a Championship player become Premiership? Snodgrass, Johnson, wson, Delph
        This site is so slow!!!!!

        • Chareose

          two of those named are back in the championship now…. there isn’t a specific type of player its just about quality and yes when we get promoted we will definitely have to buy a lot of talent in to stay up………. that’s why its pretty easy to predict which prem sides will stay up and which ones wont<

          • Pacman

            I believe the way we survive in the Premiership is to develop our own – whether that be through the academy or buying up and coming youngsters – it doesn’t really matter. Added experience may get us there but fulfilled potential will keep us there.

          • Chareose

            ofcourse you need kids or you get relegated, they are the ones who adapt. the more young players we can take with us the better because the more new players you have to bed in in the prem the more dodgy it is….we are seeing that now with leeds in the championship….12 new players trying desperately to gel
            however wed still have to spend money to stay up………for me burnley and palace will be in around relegation this season because they have not invested.

          • Pacman

            No argument – totally agree.

        • TSS

          Ahh right, I see. Yeah, it does happen, but you’d hope Leeds can attract a higher quality of player than most teams going up.

      • Tim

        Not much difference between the top half of the Championship and bottom half of the Premier. Not all the new players will work, but neither do 10 million plus players in the Prem.

  • mrbigwheels

    Good discussion and points…

    I just hope these incomers have got some intelligence to play the game within a team because we sure lacked use of any football brain on the pitch bar one or two in the last matches.
    Extending Smiths contract seemed a good idea to me at the time but him starting on tuesday dictated a numbing of any footballing skills and the return of ‘hoofalot’ being the only thing most Leeds players could resort to despite the coaching spoken of… frequently.

    I’m wondering who is going to gel these players together?
    Can see the ‘old lot’ teaching the newbies bad habits that DH obviously has no control over when they’re… out on the pitch, on match day.

    • Chareose

      need some leaders on the pitch mate don’t we…………. Revie had bobby Collins to guide his fledglings, wilko had Strachen and Vinnie………… We have Bellusci and ???? need another

    • TSS

      That’s my biggest issue with Smith. I see his usefulness to the team, he’s great from the bench if we’re pushing for equaliser/winner, but when we start him he’s always the easy outlet for those in possession and we end up hoofing it a lot. Not his fault of course, but I fear it’s always going to happen.

      • Tim

        Agree, but Smith makes sense if we could get crosses in and then he takes two defenders out of the game leaving space for others.

  • Helen LUFC

    Good article. Cellino is terrible for LUFC, a real crook, as already proven. I didn’t want him near our club with his tax dodging as it showed what a shady character he is. As for his commitment to Leeds it’s really, as the article cleverly states above, an attempt to use Leeds Utd as a means to make money out of players. KB sold assets, as he said, ‘what assets were left?!’ Well, a fair few…all players. GFH came in…out went our best players. In comes Mr. Cellno…out goes Ross. A certain business pattern here?! Cellino is buying in bulk, signing cheap, and undermining the very foundations of the future of the club. Youth. Cellino,out!

    • Bob

      meanwhile back on planet earth……

    • mrbigwheels

      If he’s a crook?, then most crooks make money and in my pea brain LUFC won’t go bankrupt any time soon. I suggest that if you were in charge and a few more grizzlies like you…. LUFC would be sucking eggs within 18 months.

      There will always be Youth in the Club, Cellinos business plan demands it.

    • jim 7

      RM was never and will never be worth 11 mil, good bit of business! Cellino has sorted debts and brought some stability, something we’ve been crying out for for 10+ years. The guy knows how to run a business and that is exactly what ER is believe it or not! Helen, can you show me a millionaire who has never tried to reduce his tax bill?? Prob not…big deal, Jimmy Carr, Gary Barlow, Chris moyles etc all did the same. Cellino is in, the boss end of. Now take your negativity somewhere else, and the rest of will continue to support and be patient, this will not happen overnight and if it means buying and selling to get us to PL .. so be it.

    • Tim

      What a load of absolute nonsense! What do you know about the players coming in as yet? When did any Leeds owner last spend the amounts of money Cellino is shelling out on players? 11 million for McCormack is the best bit of transfer business ever done at Leeds. There were no foundations at the club left when Cellino arrived so grow up.

  • Helen LUFC

    You buy cheap, you get cheap. These players now are rubbish. Cellino wants promotion from the Championship you pay…money. End of.

    • spellz

      Bit harsh, you cannot say the players are rubbish because they are unheard off, some of our best players since we dropped from the prem such as Gradel, Snoddy, Becchio, and Beckford were realy unheard of and cheap but done well.

  • Richard

    This is a question to those Leeds fans aged 35+ as I am old enough to remember the consequences but not the build up to it and I’m genuinely intrigued by it.

    What would be the modern day equivalent of signing Gordon Strachan? Looking at the history books then you’d be looking for a reject from a top flight team who finished 11th the previous season (so Crystal Palace for last season) but I don’t think that is particularly accurate for Strachan.

    Apart from pure interest, I’m asking the question because a lot of our signings this year have been fairly uninspiring (I won’t use the word disapointing but at the same time there isn’t a wow signing) and I’d like to know how that compares with the signings that Wilkinson made in the late 80s.

    If there is anybody reading it who can remember Bobby Collins signing then that would be really interesting too!

    • Dr Zen

      It’s quite the set of circumstances. Strachan had been the star player at Aberdeen and did well at Man U but struggled with injuries and loss of form. Ferguson didn’t rate him any more and wanted rid. He would have been a bit of a gamble for a top division club. Wilko made him the centrepiece of his side. He had Vinnie to win the ball for him and the idea was pretty much, “Give it to Gordon”.

      His level of performance was very high and he got a reputation for being a fiend for training. This was in an age where modern methods were yet to be introduced and it was a good match for Wilko, who liked his teams to be fit.

      Who would be like him now? Well, squads are much bigger so it’s hard to pick out a “waning star” at a big club. Particularly not one with the same temperament. In terms of ability, someone like Torres, who seems to have lost his way but has bags of ability. In terms of temperament, someone like Frank Lampard. Frank three years ago would actually be about right.

      Well, I don’t know. It’s hard because Strachan was a good player but not a superstar at ManUre. He became a star at Leeds, where the fit between his expectations and our needs was so good. It’s hard to say who would be like that now. Stewart Downing?

    • Kevin Scorah

      With larger squads and inflated wages, those players and ‘bargain buys’ no longer exist in today’s game. Good players who are surplus to requirements at the bigger clubs can now still play in the Prem with mid table and newly promoted teams. (Ferdinad to QPR and Crouch to Stoke for example). If this option isn’t available, they can always swan off for a payday in MLS. Dropping a league and being a ‘Big Fish’ is no longer attractive, unless you are relegated with a club and decide to stick around for a season, usually because no other Prem club rates you – think Robert Green and Joey Barton at QPR.
      Actually, in answer to your question, Joey Barton as Captain wouldn’t be a bad shout!

    • Tim

      Unfortunately, there aren’t any Booby Collins in the game any more. I was there when he played his first game for us against Swansea Town as it then was and rifled in a beauty from 25 + yards coming in from the West Stand towards the open Spion Kop. We have to live for the moment and not in the past.

  • henrymouni

    I still think Massimo is looking for promotion this year.
    Reading between the lines and comments he has made I think he hoped the current players could keep us in the running, until some of the new players could be slotted in.
    Most of them are still not fully match fit, and our displays so far have given him a shock.
    To his credit, he has invested in a lot of young players, he feels will be a success, and he is pulling the strings.
    I cannot understand how we play so poorly most of the time.
    It makes no sense, that even against ‘lesser’ teams (no offence to them) we are out fought and out played.
    It is difficult to judge our defenders, when our midfield is overrun.
    We need a captain on the pitch who can change things quickly.
    Just now, if the opposition have an unmarked rampaging full back, we do nothing about it (Brighton) until half time, when the damage is done.
    I think Morison would be a good partner for Sharpe.
    Bring on The Sloth!!

  • Conceived-a-White

    WTF? Why Pearce over Cooper? Hock out asap.

  • mrbigwheels

    Best play of the season and then…….not a chance.
    I know… let’s take Billy Sharp off.

    Where’s a wall?.

    • henrymouni

      The bookies were right Mr B.
      Relegation fodder!!
      Thank God for the Rhinos!!!
      If we don’t get any quality players in we are sunk!!
      Can’t wait for the Hock’s after game interviews.

      • mrbigwheels

        Yeah… Really well done the Rhinos,
        The rest.. I don’t want to listen to.

        It has gone so quiet…. I feel a sacking coming on.

  • Kevin Scorah

    Last years players got us into the top 6 in December. Then a sparse squad and the TO shenanigans took their toll.
    Most experienced managers would be able to mould a challenging team with what we now have. I’m wondering what McDermott must be thinking…
    One thing is for sure – Hock is a joke and non of us are laughing.

  • mrbigwheels

    Where the hell is the landlord when ‘stuff’ is happening?

    It cannot be disputed that today there were 68 minutes of much better passing football and then a red card blew the match after that..

    Leeds held possession very well and played a very positive game…. unfortunately that didn’t include any shots on the opposition goal due to to final third being very spikey or something… for the Leeds midfield. This type of play is fantastic if you want to play Passball…. or is it Hockball and perhaps we fans don’t understand it yet?.

    I haven’t got over Billy Sharp being subbed yet but I hope I wake up in the morning and everything is all ok and we’re looking for a NEW COACH….

    Night…

  • lufcboy

    It’s OK passing the ball around – but there is no end product, we always end up passing but going backwards. I reckon the Hock will be gone in six games if we don’t start winning. We need a coach with quality and proven ability.

    • henrymouni

      I was listening to the match on LUTV and Eddie said that Watford were deliberately letting us have the ball at the back and midfield.
      The knew we would do nothing with it, and we were easier to hit on the break.
      Watford had 20 shots and we had 4 – NONE on target!