With GFH Capital’s takeover effectively a done deal, and Bates retreating into the background, Leeds fans finally have something to feel positive about. On the field though, we still have problems. 18th in the championship is clearly not where Leeds United want to be, and unless things turn around another painful stint in League One could be on the cards. Frankly, there’s no excuse. We have several players with genuine talent and we should hopefully have some January transfer funds now too. Our weaknesses are obvious: A lack of pace, and no genuine playmaker, but this should make addressing them fairly straightforward. The suggestions below aren’t guaranteed fixes, but they would certainly be improvements over what we’ve got, in a league where a small change can make a big difference:
1. Craig Mackail Smith
Originally mooted as our big target over the summer, when the money didn’t materialize neither did the transfer. He hasn’t repeated his Peterborough goalscoring form at Brighton, but contributes plenty to the team effort and has the pace we so dearly need. He’s a good player at this level, and he’d link up well with the players we have. Most importantly, signing an established player off another championship club would show we mean business again. All of which pretty much guarantees we won’t sign him.
Probable Cost: £2million
2. Cameron Jerome
He plays for hit and hope specialists Stoke so I’m predisposed to dislike him, but he fits into Warnock’s gameplan, and has proven prem ability. The fact that Warnock has supposedly already bid for him once before is also a good indication that he’s a player we’re likely to sign. Nonetheless, limited striking options at Stoke may force Tony Pulis to keep him on for a bit.
Probable Cost: £1million or a loan with wage contribution.
3. Albert Crusat
A tricky Spanish winger with bags of pace. Never quite showed up for Wigan, but who’s to say he couldn’t make the grade at a lower level? He would cost a relatively modest amount compared to some of the other players on this list, but is only a short term fix at age 30.
Probable Cost: £500k
4. George Boyd
Linked up very well with Mackail Smith at Peterborough, and has the creativity Leeds fans crave. Getting on a bit at 28 but could be an inspired buy regardless. Would also get the chance to link up with fellow Scot Mccormack in the Leeds attack.
Probable Cost: £1.5 Million
5. Max Gradel
Signing ex players is always a dangerous game, but the tireless Ivorian international was much loved at Leeds until he was forced to move for family reasons. In his first stint he was full of pace, scored goals and worked hard for the team, so it’s hard to see how Max wouldn’t be welcomed back with open arms. Is reportedly unhappy at St Etienne, and could also fit into the current set up without many problems.
Probable Cost: 600k- 1million
6. Pajtim Kasami
A possible loan signing who’s featured for Fulham sporadically, the 20 year old swiss playmaker has the potential to be very good indeed. If signed should be seen as a decent backup player rather than a proper solution to our glaring lack of creativity.
Probable Cost: Small Loan fee and wages.
7. Tom Carroll
Another exciting prospect in the Prem; the possibility of Spurs bringing in a Moutinho type player in January should leave the door open for Carroll to go out on loan. He’s a genuine future England prospect with plenty to gain playing for a well supported club like Leeds. Given his recent form however, it’s by no means nailed on that Spurs would let him leave, even temporarily.
Probably cost: Loan fee and wages.
8. Ruben Yttergard Jensen
A bit of a left field choice shamelessly ripped from Football Manager; the classy Norwegian playmaker has all the attributes to succeed in England, and is a regular in the Norwegian national team. Also captained my Granada side to a Spanish cup victory in his first season at the club (we beat Real 3-1 in the final, obviously).
Probable cost: £1.5 million
10. Eric Lichaj
The USA international full back had a very good loan spell at Leeds a couple of seasons ago, and like Gradel has no baggage with the fans. Admittedly we don’t need too much work at the back, but Lichaj would be an astute signing for any championship team. A big barrier to this signing would be that Paul Lambert apparently wants him to stay, but we could probably tempt them with a half-decent offer.
Probable cost: £800K
10. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
I didn’t say we just needed players, and let’s face it, with Leeds 18th in the League and results like our 6-1 loss to the mighty Watford, Warnock hasn’t really done all that well. More than that, the fans are also getting a bit impatient with his overly physical style. Dirty we may be, but over the years Leeds fans have gotten used to good, attacking football. Signing Solskjaer won’t guarantee success, but he’s a young manager with plenty to prove and a very good record in the Norwegian league. Signing him might also piss off Fergie, which is always a bonus.
Anyone in the Norwich first team: I have no particular beef with the canaries, but when two Leeds Captains in a row decide they have a greater chance of footballing success in sunny Norfolk, it’s hard not to feel a bit of animosity. My solution would be for Norwich to give us some of their best players in return. Starting with say, Wes Hoolahan?