Leeds close in on first January signing TSS January 8, 2014 Transfer News 23 Comments While the takeover of Haigh and Flowers consortium is being held back by Football League bureaucracy, Brian McDermott has still been able to make progress with a deal for Hull City Tiger’s Cameron Stewart, the player who is expected to be his first signing of the January transfer window. The Yorkshire Evening Post believe that Stewart will complete a move to Elland Road within the next 48 hours, though he can only arrive as an emergency loanee since Football League rules prevent him signing a permanent deal with another club this season. An agreement for Stewart to sign permanently with the club as soon as he’s allowed to do so will be agreed before the loan is confirmed, which makes an absolutely mockery of the emergency loan rule and the rule which prevents him signing permanently at this stage, but since it works in our favour, we’ll not worry about that too much (though you do have to wonder why the Football League make up these silly and easy to exploit rules in the first place?) Quite where this leaves Hull City Tigers in terms of a transfer fee is difficult to say. By the time Cameron Stewart can sign for Leeds permanently, his contract with the Tigers will have expired meaning he’d presumably be available on a free transfer. The only way Hull can benefit from this (aside from getting his wages off their books) is if Leeds agree to pay a fee for the loan agreement, which could be used as a way to pay the transfer fee without actually completing a transfer per se… If this is the case, there’d be a bit of a ‘Gentlemen’s agreement’ involved between all three parties. The Tigers retain Stewart’s contract until it expires so they’d have to honour the loan agreement we’d be paying for while Stewart would have to honour the agreement to sign for us when he does become a free agent – at which point, he could technically sign for anyone and Leeds will have paid Hull money for a player they only had for 93 days. All hypothetical of course and I’m sure if there is a fee involved, Leeds are doing everything possible to protect themselves, but it demonstrates how pointless some of the rules introduced in recent years really are. The Emergency Loan rule was expected to be a short-term fix for a goalkeeper crisis, but clubs regularly use it as a stop-gap between the point where they can sign a player permanently – so why bother with it at all? What’s more important than the agreement that brings him here of course, is what we’ll be getting. At his best, Stewart is exactly what we’ve been lacking since Gradel and Snoddy left, a natural winger who isn’t afraid to run at the opposition to create chances and stretch the game, creating opportunities and space for other players. He’s also very young too (22), which after years of signing has-been journeymen will come as a relief to many. With youth comes a bit of inexperience, but Stewart has made 86 professional appearances so far for the likes of Blackburn and Hull, so he should be able to slot straight in to first team contention. One slight concern is injuries and fitness. Stewart sustained a serious injury in 2011 which kept him sidelined for 9 months, but he did come back towards the end of 2011 and went on to enjoy a strong season for Hull in which he made 32 appearances. However, it all seems to have gone downhill since then. Since the start of 2012-13, Stewart has made just 8 appearances for Hull (5 of which were in cup competitions) and drew criticism from Steve Bruce for a lack of fitness at the start of 2013. Stewart was subsequently loaned to Burnley and Blackburn Rovers, where he managed to get a good run of games under his belt. This season, Stewart has been with Charlton Athletic where he appears to have been a regular inclusion in the first team, which should mean he’s in good shape and ready to hit the floor running for Leeds. As with any player, there’s a degree of risk in signing Stewart, but at his best, he’s a winger Leicester City once offered £1.5m for and Hull City Tigers thought good enough to reject. If Brian McDermott can get him performing week in, week out, then there’s no doubt in my mind he’ll be a valuable addition to our squad. Irving08 There are a lot of ‘ifs’ in that last paragraph. Too many perhaps for 1.5 million ? TSS I kinda feel he’s never settled anywhere and is perhaps a bit of a confidence player (aren’t they all?), but when he’s good, he’s worth every penny of the £1.5m Leicester were offering. Irving08 Hmm confidence player. Sounds fragile. And, no, not all of them are. Even when he’s having a poor game, Pearce seems to be have bags of the right stuff; likewise Kenny, McCormack, White, Warnock, Norris (who ?), Byram (does he have bad games ?). I don’t fancy the sound of this lad. We need strong characters at Leeds – we are that kind of club with that sort of fan. TSS I don’t know if I agree with the players you list. Pearce has been awful at times, but seems to have found a bit of belief and improved considerably. McCormack is one of those “can’t fault his effort” players, he always gives everything, but his goal scoring tends to come with confidence (and being played in the right position of course). Kenny, Warnock, Norris – all experienced individuals who don’t suffer from the frailties of youth. They’ve been through the ringer enough times to know better, but they’ve all had bad spells too. Byram has a youthful arrogance about him, which is always useful, he doesn’t fear anyone. Same with Mowatt. Redders did a great job with those two, but I don’t think either of them have ever suffered a setback that would dent their confidence too much yet. Stewart was a first team player performing very well at Hull who fell down the pecking order because they had money to throw around, he was then left on the sidelines for months, loaned around and when he did come back into the team, criticised by the manager for lack of fitness – which was laughable when he hasn’t played. But he clearly has some resolve about him, he came back from the 9 month injury and performed out of his skin before that. I think he just needs to settle somewhere, get his confidence back and he’ll be back to his best in no time. Just takes someone to believe in players sometimes and McDermott is good at that kind of man management. Gradel was in a similar situation to Stewart before we signed him. Given a chance to play for a club where he was wanted and the fans were right behind him, he quickly set about showing how silly Leicester had been. Irving08 I think the bad spells of Pearce and McCormack are more due to the way the team has been set out than lack or loss of self-belief. To Mowatt and Byram I’d add Dawson, who’d be in my team now: he could be the best of the lot. Irving08 Good background research ! Yes, Brian’s considerate and considered nature should be a big help to a lad like Stewart. If he can just get to the by-line and cross a ball, I’ll be happy ! Matthew Byram has had bad games this season yes, but that’s more because he was carrying an injury at the time, not through a lack of a skill or effort. He’s only human lol Ron Any idea who the alluded to second Premier league Signing may be before Saturday’s game? TSS No idea. I guess it has to be someone similar to Stewart who has fallen down pecking order at one of promoted teams, either that, or a younger player who can’t break through at a bigger Prem team. That leaves so many possibilities I couldn’t even take a wild guess at it. Maybe it’s Snoddy… (if only) Matthew I wouldn’t mind a slightly older(Late 20s early 30s) central midfield player with some technical skill, even if they don’t have bags of pace just having this kind of figure in the current team would make the world of difference. QPR have Joey Barton and while he is a questionable character, he’s one of the best midfield players in this division. Tare In Real Numbers this is like a line of milestones aka TOMA -2,-1,0,1 and hopefully this TOMA 2. We will see. Tail (KB) was wagging the Dog. But back to football; Cameron Stewart unknown quantity for me but I won’t judge anybody before seeing him playing at especially ER. That is the ultimate pressure point where boys v Men are compared. For the club and every fan I do really hope for the one or two “icing of the cake” players just to lift the team and fans because it seems people are getting (again) restless. But ball is firmly in the axis of DH and McD. Tare PMH Sounds like a decent signing, but not the second coming by any means. BMcD said we were in need of leadership, and I agree. It won’t be coming from a 22 year old winger though. While it is good to have young legs, the team needs seasoned and smart players to help the young uns learn their craft, and cope with the Leeds pressure cooker. Central midfield and defense is where the help is most needed. Irving08 Tend to agree. We need – in my opinion – a strong midfielder to allow the creative talents like Mowatt and Dawson to flourish. Sadly, Murphy does not seem to be that man. Irving08 PS. Subject to the provison that Brian is not under pressure from the owners to get promotion next season. Though his public statements and team selections do suggest that he may be. In which case, he will fail, in my view. Unless they give him a lot of money. A million here or there won’t win us anything. Trust in youth Brian ! Tare How to approach this dilemma? Deja Vu for sure from last season from NW regime! Chris Dawson got one tame show up v Derby due to pressure v NW. Is this decline mood purely based on thinking that NWs regime knows that next season is and will be farewell for the most of it. In team sports generally the fact is that how you train is how you play. So if we gget this message from McD the squad is training like machine well where is the problem? Somebody is lying for sure, but where is the spirit anyway? Tare Matthew That’s easy, loan out Dawson and several players like Poleon. Sensible additions in the transfer window will allow this. Let the players gain first team experience and not be bench warmers. No sense having players sitting around who aren’t playing week in week out. Tare CD is more than a loaner for the sake.but like Giles was there any room for easy way to 1st team. I dare to say CD On and fast with AM as protecting box-to-box MF. Tare Matthew But he needs that 1st team experience week in week out to grow as a player, many of the potential talents could use a loan or two, playing regularly he’ll grow in confidence and return a better player. A loan to a league 1 or 2 side with regular game time for any of our youth talent would work wonders. As said if they’re not playing they may as well gain some valuable experience. Irving08 Put him in the team then, as Derby did with Hughes ! CD will see how loaning out has all but ruined Aidy White’s Leeds career. Charles Taylor will have taken note too. In my view, you don’t loan out players you rate: you play them. What have these players got to learn from lower Divisions ? If we are not careful, we will lose them. Matthew What do they have to learn? Simple, first team experience. You don’t put someone with limited Championship experience into the first team unless they’re talented, its too risky, not to mention he’s lightweight at the moment. As we’re pushing for promotion he won’t get many appearances this season, better than him doing nothing in the reserves. Also Aidy White isn’t as good as what you’re thinking. I don’t rate him personally, pace but no end product. Matthew I don’t expect as many signings in this window as we will have in the next. We’ll be clearing several million off the wage bill at the end of the season, this will leave McDermott able to recruit several players with the monies saved, most will likely be free contracts, there are a few dozen players who will likely be available on a free in the talent pool. Hell we’ll save 10 grand a week when Diouf goes. Matthew While we do need a number of signings, I do think we should be building from the back and not specifically just going just after Strikers(Though we need them). We could do with a defender or two, a few midfield players who aren’t Wingers, and of course a Winger or 2 and a Striker. I don’t rate our current midfield at all. We could use a few decent midfield players in this window if we want to be serious playoff contenders. PMH Goals get you points, so improving up front is important. But now we need to think about how we will get the forwards the ball. I can’t help but think that we need a Diouf- like player to hold the ball and make the key passes, playing in central midfield. Can we trade him in for a look alike? Probably not. My thinking is that the trade value of Diouf is very low right now because he has not been playing. His reputation as a nutcase has improved while at Leeds, but he needs to get back to work. BMcD needs to rehab this player for play or sale, so his globe trotting has to end now. Business smarts say buy low and sell high, and Diouf has value, with a bit of spit and polish.