The Sun are today reporting a return of the old guard to Elland Road, with Paul Robinson and Jermaine Beckford both being linked.

Both players are out-of-contract but won’t be short of offers, particularly Beckford who scored a hattrick in the League One play-off final, adding to the three he’d scored in the semi-finals.

Beckford, who has enjoyed a return to form at Preston North End under former Whites boss Simon Grayson, has been hotly linked with a return to the club for a while now.

The 31-year-old, who’s also had spells with Everton, Leicester City and Bolton Wanderers, scored 84 goals for Leeds United in 154 appearances between 2005 and 2010, including a memorable one at Old Trafford in the FA Cup and the goal that clinched our promotion back to the Championship v Bristol on the final day of the 2010 season, his final act before leaving the club to join Everton.

In the Premier League with Everton. Beckford managed 10 in 40 appearances, recording a similar average at Leicester and Bolton before an impressive season with Preston in which he’s scored 18 in 31.

Since his transfer to Leeds in 2005, Beckford has scored a total of 156 goals in 368 appearances in all competitions, at varying levels of football.

There’s no explanation needed for why Leeds might be attracted to Beckford, it’s clear the Whites require strengthening in attack after our top goalscorer last season barely managed to break double-figures, but Paul Robinson is a more curious link given how well Marco Silvestri performed in his debut season and the reluctance I’d expect of the former England goalkeeper to move to any club who won’t be making him number one.

Robinson’s not getting any younger of course, but 35 isn’t a bad age for a keeper. Mark Schwarzer was still playing regularly in the Premier League with Fulham when he turned 40 and plenty of other names – Van Der Sar, Brad Friedel, Jens Lehmann – have hit 40 as Premier League regulars.

While Robinson isn’t setting 40 as a target just yet, he was quoted earlier in the season as saying he’s got another couple of years in him and would leave Blackburn in search of first team football.

“I’m pretty much surplus to requirements at Blackburn. I’m not even on the bench. I’m training hard at the moment though. My contract is up at the end of the season so I’m not sure if that’s got anything to do with it. I want to keep playing and, I believe, I’ve got another two or three years left in me.”

I think it’s safe to conclude that Paul Robinson’s search for a new club will be limited to those offering him the number one shirt, so if he does sign for Leeds United, Marco Silvestri may see his first team opportunities limited – which is bound to be frustrating for a youngster who impressed in his debut season.

  • Andrew Nattan

    Much as I don’t think bringing back old players is a great idea, I’d prefer Robbo between the sticks than that Italian coward, regardless of how good he was before his season-ending kitten scratch.

    • JDC

      Andrew, perhaps you’d like to share what you really, really know about Marco Silvestri’s injury before you make your vigilante decisions and hang him from the nearest tree. different people have been given credit for keeping Leeds United in The Championship, and Marco Silvestri is up there with the best of them.

  • Bucephalus

    Over the moon if Beckford comes back, he’ll get double what Morison and Sharp could get just on his own. Silvestri far better than Robbo, but decent back up

  • Chareose

    Its feasible as they are going cheap……. that’s not a dig at our wonderful owner, its just obvious that we have got a pot to pzzz in…..
    Thanks to the court cases, ex players and ex managers wages, coaches and ex-staff tending their gardens at our expense….. Im sure a few more court cases will appear soon as a result of our owners capable handling of this football club….
    So yes back to article……..its safe to assume that anyone on a free transfer is a Leeds target. No doubt Massimo will blow the only money we have on foreign mercenaries

  • Arnie

    Would like to see both of these back, not just for sentimental reasons. I’m sure Robinson would be told to fight for his place just like any other signing and would be happy to come back to LUFC to do that. It’s not like he is dropping down from the Premiership and can therefore demand he is number one. No reason to depose Silvestri especially after his performances last season – unless he or the club want him out.

    • TSS

      Thing is, Robbo won’t be short of offers so dropping from Prem or not, he has all the power and will be looking for some assurances from whichever clubs are interested. If we can’t guarantee him number one spot, someone else will IMO

      • djedjedje

        You never know, Robinson might be one of those footballers who prefer the potential of the big arena like Elland Road and a push for the playoffs, even if this comes with the possibility of seeing most of it from the bench, rather than the guarantee of being first choice at a small club, possibly even in Division 1, and going nowhere. Besides, if he goes to somewhere like Rotherham or Huddersfield or MK Dons, he could be in League One before he knows it. I’m sure he doesn’t need the money, so it’d be a bit soul destroying if he wangled down the pyramid system, only to find himself playing with a pub football defence in front of him at Northampton Town on a grey November evening against the dizzy foes of Accrington or Newport County. Also, if he’s thinking of going into coaching then we offer him a decent bash at that.

        A few advantages Robinson has over Silvestri are that he commands his box better and is far more communicative in organising his defence (making him as much a fifth defender). With established good solid shot stoppage skills and years of experience (and proven goalscoring prowess for us!), I’m wondering if bringing in Robinson as No.1 and laying the challenge down to the developing Silvestri wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

        • Irving08

          No ! No ! No ! Robinson always looked like he should be good in the box, but he was actually pretty weak on the crossing aspect. I suppose he could be better than Silvestri at pushing people around though. But in any shot stopping competition between the Silvestri and Robinson, I’d back the former, any day. He saved us on so many occasions this season, I do not care to think where we would have finished without him.

  • Oh… Is Luciano coming back as well?…. to do the work for JB.

    I some how feel we could do better.

  • djedjedje

    I’d take Beckford:
    • a free transfer
    • in form
    • plays off the shoulder of the defence
    • and with pace
    • would be assisted with cracking through-balls from Mowatt and Cook (I bet Bianchi too if he ever gets a game again)
    • getting poacher’s goals on the end of whipped-in crosses from Taylor or Byram.

    It’s a no-brainer.

    That said, why would he leave Preston, when:
    • he’s in-form
    • got a great relationship with the manager (who is unlikely to be sacked after six matches)
    • got great working goalscoring partners in Garner and Gallagher
    • is all but guaranteed first team football (or at least a decent crack at proving himself as good at Championship level as League One)
    • unlikely to be offered ‘silly money’ by Leeds.

    • TSS

      Broadly agree with points made. The sensible thing is to stay at PNE from Becks’ point of view, but he’s nearing the end of his career and Leeds United are still a huge club – however arrogant that may sound.

      A lot of players are lured to Elland Road believing they can achieve something special and be written into the history books, much like Vinnie Jones (who was nothing special) was. If you want to leave your mark on football, what better chance can you have than getting LUFC promoted? It’s unlikely, sure, but I think we stand a better chance than PNE

    • Irving08

      But could he play off the shoulder of Middlesborough’s defence, say ? Has his first touch improved since leaving Leeds ?

  • spellz

    An Aging Beckford an a old Robinson, no thanks out with the old in with the new.