Aston Villa youngster Barry Bannan is the latest player to be linked with a loan move to Elland Road as Simon Grayson tries to reinforce his midfield for Leeds’ promotion push.

The 22 year old was part of the Blackpool side that won promotion to the Championship last season and also had a loan spell at Derby County towards the end of the 2008-09 campaign.

This season has seen Bannan’s emergence as a fringe player in the Aston Villa first team with 19 appearances to date. He has also made two appearances for the Scottish National side, with Craig Levein tipping him as a star of the future.

Whilst Bannan isn’t the experienced head most Leeds United fans would like to see brought in on loan, he does come with an awful lot of acclaim and expectation. Ian Hollaway described him as a “beautiful footballer, absolutely lovely to watch” whilst Darren Fletcher said that he “is in the mould of the best midfielders in the world”.

Defending his size, Bannan’s current boss Gerard Houllier also revealed himself to be a big admirer;

“He is an intelligent player, he can read the game well and adapt well. I don’t think Xavi and Iniesta, who are outstanding players, are of huge size. They are intelligent, they have the skill, they have the desire – young Barry has all of that.

Quite a lot to live up to in a world where talented youngsters are a penny per dozen, but Bannan seems to be totally unfazed by the hype describing his driving test as more stressful than playing Premier League football.

Sounds like the calm and collected character we’ve been looking for.

24 Responses

  1. Peter T

    small attacking left sided midfielder

    a better version of Kilkenny with a higher work rate but not a defensive midfielder

    Not surprising players coming from Villa thanks
    he was the manager who signed Becchio and Snoddy
    Two better players than any of the 40 signed by Simon

  2. Matt BB

    i think thats unfair, Grayson has signed some decent players, Gradel, Watt, Schmeicel, Connolly, Bruce, O’Brien, Somma.

    Yes hes signed some stinkers but Gary Mac signed Enoch, Robinson, Sheehan, i could go on.

    I’m not so sure whether yet another fringe midfielder is the answer either however, but these are rumours, created by some hungover tabloid journalist most likely.

    We’d be more likely involved in trying to sign either Johnson from Man City or Keith Southern from Blackpool.

  3. Lorimerhotshot

    He sounds good but not what we need unless he’s adaptable and can play, to continue the Barca theme, a bit more like Busquets than Iniesta.
    Attacking Left is arguably our strongest area in terms of combined first choice plus quality of back-up.
    Then again, the Xavi comparison, if no doubt a tad overstated, can’t be a bad thing, whoever he replaces!

  4. Svein-Magne Forsgren

    A better version than Kilkenny yes, BUT he seems a bit small and tiny and we have enough of those.

    we need tackling and steel force

    • Lorimerhotshot

      Barca are pretty small and tiny…
      Not that I’m drawing a serious comparison.

    • Simmo

      Have you never heard of Billy Bremner, Johnny Giles, Bobby Collins,Gordon Strachan, small but very, very tasty!

  5. Colin

    YEP are claiming leeds are also after Jordon Mutch from Birmingham City.

  6. lufcboy

    Is another young Premiership player what we require for a play-off push?. Would prefer a defender who can defend as Saturday apart, we don’t really struggle in The goals dept. Maybe an older quality midfielder would be good.

  7. Sunnyleeds

    If we are really serious about taking at least 6th spot, we have to make our move now to strengthen our midfield. The midfield needs changes. Either by bringing new players in or by Grayson making better use of his squad players.

  8. Gryff

    Billy Bremner, Johnny Giles, David Batty, Gary Speed… None of them were particularly big. I want a man to stay between the two lines of defence & midfield, but there are two problems: Kilkenny & BJ’s position. If we replace Kilkenny, then we’re halfway there.

    From what i’ve seen of Bannan he is the playmaker Grayson thought he had in Kilkenny, except infinitely better.

    Just add to that an experienced head to play in front of the centre-backs and we might have a chance if we can get into the playoffs?

  9. Ron

    I think this kid has real enthusiasm and ability which may just lift us out of the slump we are currently in. If we can snare him and perhaps a holding midfielder, I’d be very happy. Grayson must act and is genuinely under pressure. We’ve gone from automatic promotion chat to now potentially missing out on the play-offs chat. Grayson’s halo will be shoved up his a%% if we are not in the top 6 at the end of the season. Near enough is never good enough.

  10. Brooko

    Would like to see Bannan join. He does seem to be a better version of Kilkenny. Wouldnt mind Southern either.

    Cant believe the comments about Grayson being under pressure though. Got us promoted, MIGHT achieve play-offs in 1st season with essentially a league 1 team with no budget and now if we dont make play-offs he is terrible?! Shorty memories some people as over December period he could do no wrong!

    P.S. Did Forest fans want Billy Davies gone after their poor start? No they had faith and look where they are now

  11. Gryff

    That’s a good point from Ron. We had problems last season too, and it was an attacking winger in Max Gradel that lifted us from the slump. Enthusiasm and Ability, I might just get that hung on my wall!

  12. shofty


    so when we were in league one, we had a championship side that was getting dragged to tinpot level and beatenm on experience, now were in the championship, we’ve got a league one side? behave yourself. we’re not good enough to mount a sustained attack, we’ve bottled the second half of the last three seasons in more ways than one. it’d be nice if we didnt bottle this one too.

  13. Brooko

    @ Shofty

    I never said we were a championship team when we were in league 1 though did I.

    I agree we probably are not good enough to sustain a challenge, I am just baffled by some people saying Grayson is under pressure when we lie 6th in the table with not long to go. Surely at the start of the season everyone would have been ecstatic with that.

    I know I would have been happy with top half then build for next season!


    Saw Banan play for Scotland when Snoddy made his debut and he stood out as the best player on the pitch. I did comment at the time on this site that Grayson should look at him on loan and as he was at the match he hopefully saw the same thing as me.
    Looks very similar to Kilkenny but far more mobile and never gave the ball away.
    He would walk into any midfield in the championship.

  15. Barry'sboots

    Villa fan. Barry is a very good prospect but you will need to set up your team to accommodate him. He needs an enforcer alongside him, allowing him to pull the creative strings from a deeper lying position, and an attacking CM’er/link player in front (otherwise the gap between CM and a front 2 can be too large). Not dissimilar in style to Delph but maybe a stronger passer over distance but a bit less ability to take on a man/dribble or tackle.

    How’s Lichaj doing?

    • TSS

      Did Ok in the first game, but was as poor as everybody else in the second.

      To his credit, I think the defence were victim of a midfield that offers absolutely no support.

  16. WillS

    “Bannanaman” should be warned that many players have come to Elland Road under Grayson never to see a first team outing or even the bench!

  17. jp

    I’m a first timer so be gentle!
    Just want to say that ,although sg has brought us out of L1 and within reach of the dizzy heights of prem football , its glaringly obvious to us all that we need some steel in midfield. Everyone knows we need a player to fill this roll and it seems to me that the club as a whole is bordering on neglate by not spending a few quid by getting someone in to do ‘the job’
    In addition if we dont take this chance now when we can almost smell it, when will the next one come along, lets be right, spend a few quid now to really challenge rather than end up mid table.
    Heaven forbid going back to the Ridsdale days but bloody hell surely we have speculate a little.
    Bradleys not all that but we didnt half miss him on Sat. Blackpool never had a sniff last year, they were ten pts behind auto , took their chance and are in the prem and low and behold might even stay up.
    In addition whats with our defending at corners etc , basic football crack, we dont seem to be able to do the simple things well , therefore lesser teams score , i think this is potentially down to either , basic defensive drills in training and /or someone being in charge on the pitch. We are not a mickey mouse club but some of our defending is right out of disneys finest. Sorry I know its a rant but am I alone?

  18. Ron

    No JP, you’re not. I’m sorry Brooko has taken offence to me saying Grayson is under pressure, but the buck stops with him I’m afraid. We’ve all heard Bates and SG say that they have the money to bring in players and the minute we hit the magic number (to avoid relegation), all the chat was about going after auto promotion. In the mean time, despite a big squad, with some good fringe players (e.g. Watt, Sam, Somma), we have not rotated and arguably ran our best assets into the ground unnecessarily. Furthermore, the players we have signed (deemed good enough to add something) have not been seen at all (Nunez, Clayton). All this when we have stagnated and dropped points.

    Am I happy we are 6th? Yes. Will I be pi55ed if we don’t make the play-offs all things considered having smelt a wiff of promotion? F&ck yes! We’re a big club who want to win. Grayson is smart enough to know he’s in the firing line if we go out with a whimper and that he will be worshiped by all and sundry if he gets us back to the promised land. I just hope Ken signs the checks for him after making so much noise that about bringing in players. The bottom-line is we need to act, no more bloody statements.

  19. pabs1983

    Watched the first half last night and Bannan looked like he would definitely strengthen our midfield.

    He constantly wanted the ball, held it well in possession, tracked back and chased everything.


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