Will Master Bates cash in on Gradel? TSS June 28, 2011 Leeds United 56 Comments With no real news to speak of speculation and rumour is the natural stopping point for sites like ours. Whilst not normally one to get too concerned about the ins and outs before the manager has had chance to do his business, the persistent stories linking Max Gradel with a move away from Elland Road do worry. It’s not that I expect Max Gradel to see pound signs and jump ship, it’s more that the ever-loveable Ken Bates will see an easy couple of million in additional Project Meccano* funds and cash in. *Project Meccano – An eyesore currently being erected on the side of Elland Road’s East Stand. Also known as ‘The Ken Bates Vanity Project’ and ‘Chelsea Village, Leeds’. Despite the fact the new season is miles away and clubs are only just starting to reshape their squads, Leeds United fans have resorted to mass panic as several players exit the club with only a reserve team goalkeeper brought in. Relegation then, is inevitable. Well no, not at all really. This is so reminiscent of last years panic that I’ve had to pinch myself a few times just to ensure I’m conscious and not living in some horrible, never-ending nightmare of whining, doom-expectant Leeds United fans. Those that have left the club so far – for my money – are all easily replaceable. Bradley Johnson improved massively last season and I was disappointed to see him leave, but players like Neil Kilkenny and Richard Naylor were surplus to requirements. Kasper Schmeichel understandably annoyed the fans a little, but I can’t help think his name carried him a little and a replacement won’t be too hard to come by. Had Kasper stayed I’d have still expected a more experienced keeper to be brought in that could organise a defence and had some level of communication skill. The panic however is not created by those that have left, but the lack of players brought in to replace them. The fact is, there is a mini-clearout at almost every club this time of season as players contracts come to an end and the doors open for them to find new employment. Almost every club will see some sort of exodus before the new arrivals grace us with their presence. At the end of the 2010-11 campaign most Leeds United fans will have agreed that the defence needed a complete overhaul, that the centre of midfield was a little lightweight and the only two areas where we could comfortably say no changes were needed was the wings (Snodgrass and Gradel) and the strikers (Becchio, Somma and McCormack). So far, those are the areas where no damage has been done. Our strengths remain, but our weaknesses have been cast aside ready for new peoples to be brought in. Unfortunately, these things take time. It’s difficult to be patient when you see a half empty team-sheet, but we were in the same position last year and for almost every year before that. The only real concern we should have at this point is whether we can keep hold of those afore mentioned players that are vital to any promotion push. If we can start 2011-12 without Ken Bates cashing in to fund his vanity project then maybe Simon Grayson will surprise everyone by once again defying expectations with little or no money spent? We didn’t do too badly last season after all. Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.