Such was Leeds United’s reliance on short-term, quick fixes to major deficiencies within the squad, the emergency loan window was a shining beacon of hope in previous years. But after a busy summer of transfer activity The Whites have so far resisted the temptation to further exploit a system intended to be used as a last resort when injury crises hit.

During the Bates era in particular, the summer transfer window generally saw us lose key players and replace them with free, out-of-contract has-beens and we grew to expect nothing better. The emergency loan window however allowed us to dream of the Premier League youngsters who may become available to us – players whose talent and flair could lift us from also-rans to promotion candidates.

The reality of sprinkling an Andros Townsend or a Ross Barkley across a steaming pile of journeyman dross didn’t quite live up to the hopes and dreams of the Leeds United faithful, but with a far more capable base to build upon, could Darko Milanic glean greater rewards from the emergency loan window?

There’s been little in the way of transfer speculation since Milanic arrived, but as his Leeds side prepare to face Norwich City tomorrow night still searching for a first win under the new boss, one would assume he has ideas on where his squad falls short and who could be brought in to improve it.

One player who has been linked is Anel Hadžić, a midfielder who represented Bosnia at this years World Cup and currently plays for Milanic’s former club, SK Sturm Graz. It’s more likely we’d be looking at him as a permanent transfer instead of an emergency loan and that’s always going to be preferable, but we shouldn’t totally discard the merits of short-term signings.

There hasn’t been a World Cup featuring Leeds United players since 2006, but the aforementioned loanee Ross Barkley did make England’s squad this year and Andros Townsend was unfortunate to be ruled out through injury.

The success of those two players – even if they didn’t manage to fully demonstrate their abilities at Elland Road – is what makes the allure of the emergency loan window so enduring. However impressed we may have been by the summer 2014 recruits, there’s always room for improvement and the emergency loan window gives Championship clubs like Leeds access to potentially world class youngsters who’d otherwise be off-limits.

None of that is to say we should return to the Ken Bates model of near total reliance on loanees, but I do wonder how the likes of Ross Barkley and Andros Townsend would have fared alongside the better quality players we now have.

Ken Bates used to talk of using the emergency loan window for “icing on the cake” but the cake was too badly neglected for icing to cover up its shortcomings. Maybe now, with a decent squad to build upon, a Townsend or a Barkley could make a real impact at Elland Road and help transform us into genuine promotion candidates?

17 Responses

  1. Dr Zen

    We seriously do not need Sturm Graz’s terrible castoffs. We should continue to see what we’ve got. Let’s face it, we’re not going up this season so let’s figure out who can get us up next.

  2. markman

    the above article rather implies that the summer signings who have yet to make the first team,are,either not up to the task,or or not yet ready

    • TSS

      Not really, just that the difference between Prem and Champ is substantial enough to merit consideration of loaning a youngster or two.

      • Tim

        Townsend , Barkley, Vokes and Wickham were IMO all duds at Leeds. The majority of the better Prem loanees don’t want to be loan players anyway. We have just as good if not better in our squad.

      • TSS

        I don’t disagree those players didn’t live up to expectations at Leeds, but I feel that had more to do with how poor the squad around them was.

      • Tim

        Exactly and despite recent disappointing results we should have all we need to move forward. BTW, I am not expecting a positive result tomorrow night with my comments but Leeds being Leeds you never know!!

      • Jibb

        definitely Butland came in last season and went from england prospect to a keeper with a record Rachubka would have been proud of. i would say that was more to do with the players around him than his own deficiencies

      • Jibb

        what about lichaj, delph, blackstock(pre injury), mccarthy, thomas, obrien, sodje and naylor. all made a positive impact when they came in on loan and improved the team

      • Tim

        Possibly, but we were still crap just like when Stewart and Kebbe arrived with a MacD fanfare having already
        dumped Murphy, Wootton and Hunt on us also!

  3. Tim

    I can only think of Max Gradel who came as a loanee and was purchased. We have enough midfield players and don’t need any emergency loanees. Having been somewhat depressed following the Friday night defeat I still positive we will at least make the playoffs. There is really not a lot wrong with the squad and it will get better. In previous seasons we knew it was crap and all we did more or less was add more crap post Grayson. All the other sides in the Championship are a question of of ‘what you see is what youv’e got’.
    The first 11 if you will is starting to take shape and unlike others we have cover all over the pitch.
    There is a long long way to go yet in this season.

  4. footsoretiredandweary

    Maybe we could do with another central defender, a winger and a central striker. Though if the present lot gels we should be all right. Would not mind seeing Montenegro Del Fabrio given a chance in the near future.

  5. oldschoolbaby

    Silvestri, Bellusci, Bianchi and Antenucci have settled remarkably quickly into Yorkshire / Championship life.
    This has probably generated an expectation that the other new arrivals can do the same. Benedicdic and Del Fabro are only kids. Others, by temperament, just take longer to adjust. We really need to assess what we have.
    Plus, if Dawson is pushed any further down the pecking order 08 will have a thrombosis. And we don`t want that.

  6. Bodiddly

    This is the best squad we’ve had in over a decade! Short term loans are ok in theory but, as you say, Barkley and Townsend didn’t exactly turn us into a great team (I do think Barkley was treated appallingly by Colin W, as he dropped him when he was obviously better than what we had. Losing the dressing room anybody!?!) All we need in my opinion is stability, a midfield general who is nails and the full support from our fans; something we have not had for years. MOT

  7. George Best ate my Hampster

    I can see what your getting at TSS But I think Old school nailed it….we don’t really want the likes of Dawson, Adryan and Cooks development to stagnate so that we can develop a premier league clubs youngster……..I think this year with a January transfer ban a possibility, that we should suck it up, try to be patient and let the sproglets develop

  8. Irving08

    Surely forgotten window of desperation. We want to see our youngsters, not ‘world-class’ ones (whatever that means). We don’t want to be like the rest.

  9. PMH

    If you are building a house you don’t put in bricks or timbers on a temporary basis. That makes no sense. You may need them to prop up a wall that is falling down. Thus, loanees should be temporary recruits for fixing short-term issues. Examples would be injuries to key players, or staving off relegation. Neither of those apply right now.


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