Thursday, 30 June 2011

Lads are back as rumours continue

The Leeds United first team squad were back in business this morning with a grueling training regime. The squad is still slightly thin after many summer departures. The dust has settled over the 'crazy' week regarding Kasper Schmeichel and now papers have linked ex-Real Madrid/Liverpool stopper Jerzy Dudek with a shock move to Elland Road. As per usual Simon Grayson tends to not speculate on transfer dealings, so only time will tell whether the Champions League winner will return to English football with Leeds. Grayson has come out an said another keeper will join the club so this is definitely on the cards.

Alan Smith has been constantly linked with a move back to his boyhood club this summer however there has been much speculation over the deal as the midfielder would have to take a considerable pay cut. United are in much need of strength and depth in the middle of the park with only Jonny Howson as a recognised central midfielder.

It's good to see almost all of the players back for pre-season, only Paddy Kisnorbo and Ramon Nunez missed today's session. All the fans will be eagerly anticipating the fresh faces that are expected to sign up with the whites in the next couple of weeks.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Kasper told to F*** off as Rachubka signs up!

Ken 'Leeds United enemy No.1' Bates has told Kasper Schmeichel that he has no future at the club. In a statement he released by Bates he warned the 24 year old that if he rejects a move from Leicester he will not take any part in first-team activity. "We've decided that we're going to sign two new goalkeepers and Kasper will not be first choice."

That effectively spells the end of Schmeichel's short but flamboyant career at Elland Road and marks the beginning of Paul Rachubka's time with the Whites. The 30 year old former Blackpool stopper was signed by Grayson in 2007 and played a big part in getting the Seasiders promoted to the Premier League. Although due to injury he was limited to 3 top flight appearances and is now setting his sights on Leeds United and working once again alongside Simon Grayson.

Kasper's almost arrogant style of goalkeeping, much in resemblance of his father brought excitement to the fans this term and therefore despite some errors he won the fans hearts. He held such a self-confidence which is truly admirable however did some of his 'wonder' saves overshadow some of the careless mistakes made? The loud and ambitious Dane will say farewell to the club which he seemed to love his time at and was passionate everytime he put on the shirt. A truly magnificent talent and he will be sadly missed by all the fans! Let's hope that the players coming in to fill his shoes live up to the brilliance Schmeichel brought to Elland Road for his brief yet memorable stay.

This weeks hectic transfer jigsaw is finally starting to make sense. I believe that what Leeds United have decided is, they would cash in on Schmeichel and then most likely sign to 'quality' keepers on free transfers which allows them to use the £1-2M profit from Kasper's deal to strengthen the rest of the squad. Grayson has confirmed that the next week or two will be extremely busy as he looks to dive into the market. Fans have been reassured that another keeper is on their way but who else can we expect? Everyone is holding their breath over the highly media speculated deals for ex-Leeds boys Lee Bowyer and Alan Smith but what other cards does Simon hold up his sleeve as the Elland Road faithful will want to go one better this season and capture a ticket into the Play-offs at least.

Monday, 20 June 2011

De-railed Leeds head into pre-season

Leeds United fans have been angered greatly by the news that a bid for fan favourite Kasper Schmeichel has been accepted from Leicester. This has boiled up forgotten issues of last term regarding Simon Grayson's signing records and Ken Bates priorities.

Simon Grayson is fondly thought of by the Elland Road faithful however something he is continually forgiven for is his shocking record in bringing in quality players. Some of Grayson's flops have included; Billy Paynter, Fede Bessone, Ross McCormack and Neil Collins. He has also preferred  the loan system which has been rarely beneficial bringing in players who have not delivered and may have disrupted the squad; Barry Bannan, Jake Livermore, David Gonzalez and Amdy Faye. After he guided his Leeds side to an impressive 7th place finish all issues were forgotten but one thing the fans won't stand for is selling players that are indispensable to the club such as Kasper Schmeichel.

Ken 'Money Grabbing' Bates is thought of as the puppet master of this out of control charade. The exit of hot prospect Fabien Delph was understood because of the size of the sum however the inflexible nature of his supposed sterling wage structure seems to be selling the club and the fans short. We have every right too be displeased. The renovation of the East Stand seems far less important than the strengthening of a squad that should be setting their sights on the Premier League.

If Schmeichel decides to depart Elland Road which he can't be blamed for, it will surely spark unrest around the city and who knows how the fans might protest. The message from the fans is clear. Do NOT sell and please please allow Grayson to spend a little money on bolstering a squad to stampede the Championship come August!

What seemed superb team spirit and a fantastic foundation at Elland Road a mere 3 months ago now seems to be a de-railed team going into the final month before the new season with the fans in uproar over key players being forced out with no link to any replacements.

Selling club?

A link to Kasper Schmeichel's official Twitter statement
A link to the Leeds United official statement on the transfer

All the talk this summer has been primarily focused on whether Bradley Johnson and Neil Kilkenny would remain at the club. As of now it looks like both midfielders will move on after the players refused a new contract offer from the club.

Flamboyant wingers Robert Snodgrass and Max Gradel were the next names on everybody's lips linking them both with moves away from Elland Road. After Leeds United rejected a £3.5M bid from Norwich for Snodgrass it seemed like the days of being a selling club could be long gone... But matters of speculation and controversy are never too far away from Leeds United. Whether it be Ken Bates or Simon Grayson, they have dropped a bombshell on the Leeds faithful today as Leicester City have had a bid for stopper Kasper Schmeichel ACCEPTED for an undisclosed fee however SkySportsNews disclosed the figure to be around £1M.

The fans expected incoming transfers rather than outgoing deals and with our shaky defence being the main reason United narrowly missed out on a play-off spot, it seems ridiculous why we would dismantle that back 5 for the under valued bid of £1M.

For a club that must have aspirations of challenging for a spot in the Premier League next season it seems like a move in the wrong direction for the club who will have wished for a more positive start to the summer. Schmeichel seemed to have found a home at Elland Road last season but will he decide to once again swap colours in what will be a big money move for him to work along side Sven Goran Eriksson for what will be the 3rd time.

On a positive note, Simon Grayson has confirmed contact with the agents of Alan Smith and Jonathan Woodgate. It will be interesting to see where the squad stands after the first week of July after everyone has returned from their welcomed breaks and some deals can be finalised. If Kasper goes who is the man to replace him? A quiet start to the summer has suddenly erupted with this deal! Players come and go but Leeds will go marching on...