One of the worst kept secrets of the off-season has finally been confirmed: Paddy Kenny has signed for Leeds United. We covered rumours as far back as May that Kenny was to join Leeds, with former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan having fun pumping the rumour-mill via Twitter early on.

Kenny’s ability to keep a secret over the past couple of weeks was so impressive, he invited this praise from The Square Ball:

Rob Green’s move to QPR from West Ham meant Kenny’s move was given the green light, but Leeds had to wait for other deals to be tied up before bringing the stopper in; Andy Lonergan is expected to leave Leeds in the next week or so. Kenny will probably already be in the fans good books as he was part of the QPR team that let in 3 goals against Man City last May, costing their smaller city rivals the title. He has a good pedigree, being the rear-guard for Warnock’s last two teams to be promoted to the Premier League, gaining two years of Premier League experience, and playing a major role in helping QPR to safety.

Paddy Kenny and Neil Warnock have history, with the experienced stopper signing for Warnock’s Bury in 1998, before being signed again by Warnock at Sheffield United in 2002, and following the manager to QPR in 2010. Kenny made 278 appearances in his time at Sheffield United including 34 in the Premier League, and made 77 appearances for QPR including 33 in the Premier League last season, avoiding relegation in the final match of the season.

Despite some good performances for Leeds last season, Andy Lonergan has the misfortune of playing the same position of one of Warnock’s favourite players. The Kenny rumours faced a mix of enthusiastic and cautious responses, but Warnock made no secret of how important a part Kenny will play at Leeds while he’s here, saying:

I think he’s the most important signing I’ll make while I’m at Leeds United if I’m honest. I rate him that highly.

Speaking to Yorkshire Radio Kenny revealed that despite the massive rumours for the past couple of months he wasn’t actually contacted by Warnock until the last few days. He said:

I’m delighted it’s done, it’s a massive club.

Once [the manager] told me about the club and everything, there was only one place I wanted to go. I’m from round here and I have some family and friends who always tell me what a big club it is.

I think Warnock’s record at this level and for promotion speaks for itself. And I’m sure with the players we’re getting in, and the ones we’ve already got in will mean the club will be up there pushing for promotion.

Hopefuly I can do what I did at QPR and help this club back to Premier League where it belongs.

After the promise of major surgery, Neil Warnock has gone a long way to completely rebuilding the back five, with a first-choice lineup including new signings Paddy Kenny, Adam Drury, Jason Pearce and Tom Lees.

Kenny signs for an undisclosed fee, thought to be around £500,000, on a three year contract. Drury and Green signed two year deals, so the length of Kenny’s contract suggests Warnock sees him as a long-term part of the Leeds squad. Aged 34, Kenny will have just turned 37 when his contract naturally expires. Warnock is only committed to one year of Kenny’s three at the club, but the stopper’s experience will benefit the club wherever we are over the next few years.

Sun Journalist Andrew Haigh linked to keepers’ stats in the Premier League last season, on Twitter. Paddy Kenny is 18th of those who have faced more than 100 shots, but what tells the story is that he came ahead of Bolton’s Bogdan (who Lonergan is rumoured to be heading to as backup for), and Wojciech Szczesny (the Arsenal keeper), as well as Blackburn’s Paul Robinson. He’s hardly got the best stats in the Premier League, but then he was a keeper in one of the worst teams last season – the likes of Szczesny (who Leeds were rumoured to be interested in taking on loan last season) weren’t. The shots-save ratio does not take into account the number of almost open goals created by poor defences being carved up.

Overall, it’s hard to criticise the Kenny signing, in him we get a proven keeper with a long history who has done quite well in the Premier League.

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