Monday, 25 July 2011

Lonergan joins Leeds

Preston keeper Andy Lonergan has joined United on a three-year deal. This is our 3rd summer signing and adds competition for Paul Rachubka. I think this is an promising signing after the stopper was attracting interest from Everton. Lonergan was North Ends player of the season in 09/10. He has been a long-term target for Simon Grayson and will hopefully be able to fill the boots of Kasper Schmeichel.

Rachubka has had an impressive pre-season so come August Grayson will have some tricky decisions to make, but having competition for places keeps you on your toes therefore raising your game. I look forward to watching them fight for their place, hopefully their combination of experience will help breed the young Alex Cairnes through as well.

Who will be No.1? Rachubka v Lonergan!

Who will be next?

Simon Grayson has confirmed that early this week they will have another addition to their squad for their 2nd season back in the Championship. Grayson has given a go to several trialists for the games against Rochdale and Sheffield Wednesday. Trialists have been successful at Elland Road giving the chance for Luciano Becchio to make his mark on English Football, Ramon Nunez is another who Grayson found last year. Alex Mendy (winger) and Boldiszar Bodor (left-back) both travel with the squad for their short trip to Norway.

But the question being asked at present is, who will this player be that Grayson plans to make a White? It really could be anybody. A 2nd goalkeeper has yet to be added after Rachubka joined up, the defence need severally strengthening along with the midfield and with Davide Somma and Becchio both out injured the possibility of a striker isn't out of the question.

With only two players have being signed up so far a believe we need to bring in three more players (goalkeeper, defender, midfielder), and maybe a striker on loan depending on Becchio's time-scale. Unfortunately we have severely handy-capped ourselves in the transfer market, because let's face it who would want to play wearing this kit...

Monday, 18 July 2011

Positives and Negatives after Scotland tour

After a successful tour of Scotland winning both games participated in Leeds head back to home soil ready to kick on from a positive start to pre-season. One player who won't be kicking on for a while will be marksman Davide Somma, the South African has damaged his cruciate ligament in his knee. He posted on his twitter that he is facing a 5-6 month lay-off however since then Simon Grayson refused to commit to that time-scale.

Another negative result of Somma's injury was the fact that he leaked the news on Twitter. This has caused Grayson to impose a Twitter ban which personally I think is a big mistake. This decision can't be good for team moral and I wouldn't be surprised if Grayson goes back on this ban or he could end up regretting it.

I said that we would see more of a squad taking shape in Scotland and I believe that has become apparent. The signing of Michael Brown is obviously the stand-out player being the second summer signing. I must try to remind you all of the existing talent in the squad that failed to be utilised last season. Dropping the names of Paddy Kisnorbo and Ben Parker in defence who together have played around 180 minutes of competitive  Football in the last year.

Adam Clayton, Ramon Nunez and Lloyd Sam the midfielders/forward players. Sam showed glimpses of his talent at the start of last year's campaign, but a second half plagued by injury and illness never allowed the winger to fully woo the United faithful. Unlike Sam, Clayton and Nunez were both shipped out on loan after making a couple of sub appearances. These two both return this year hoping to play a more integral role in the Whites Premier League push.

The mysterious story of Ramon Nunez. Grayson brought the Honduran in on trial before offering the forward a 6 month contact. I think it's fair to say that many people are not to sure where his best position is, including me. The fans were excited by this Central American prospect with Nunez claiming MVP at the Centro Copa America. Grayson has sung his praises after the short tour north of the border. He said "He's come back looking fit and sharp. We know he's got the talent, it's just about adapting to a different style of football". Ramon went on loan to Scunthorpe at the end of last season where he put in some solid performances scoring his first goals in English Football. Hopefully Nunez can step up for Leeds now and be another one of Grayson's brilliant gambles.

We are still expecting three more signings as we were promised four players before the signing of Brown. The latest news has seen us being linked with Coventry City captain Sammy Clingan. It'll be interesting to see how things develop at the Football Club over the next couple of weeks. One thing that would be nice to see would be Elland Road not looking like one massive construction site. Brick by Brick, Player by Player, Game by Game, Leeds are edging ever closer to the start of their Championship campaign.

Game 1 - Tour of Scotland
Att. 2,065
Leeds 2-0 Falkirk

Scobbie (og) 36 - Leeds
Snodgrass 53 - Leeds

Game 2 - Tour of Scotland
Att. 4,798
Leeds 2-1 Motherwell

Murphy 39 - Motherwell
Bruce 68 - Leeds
Nunez 75 - Leeds

Monday, 11 July 2011

The wait is over as Brown joins

Michael Brown, 34, has joined Leeds United on a one-year deal with an option for a further year. The Midfielder was out of contract after his spell with Portsmouth and joined up with his new team mates in Scotland on Monday. The experienced intelligent central midfielder has made 524 appearances, 200 of for Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United. He enjoyed spells with Spurs, Fulham and most recently Portsmouth.

I think everybody will be delighted first of all to see another player sign up but most importantly as someone as talented as Brown. A few questions may be raised over his age however, he is a hard working confident leader and will in my opinion form a superb partnership alongside Jonny Howson. He will most likely replace the role of Bradley Johnson, a strong attribute of Brown's is that he's never shy of a throwing himself into a tackle.

All the fears and doubters can now relax as Simon Grayson has brought in the sort of player we have been craving for. Not only will he bolster the midfield, I believe he has the capabilities to help organise the defence and will give a boost to the squad that is still developing and working hard to strive for bigger and better things. A superb signing and hopefully a sign of things to come.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Paddy pens new deal

2010 Player of Year Paddy Kisnorbo has signed a new two-year deal to the delight of everyone at Leeds United. Kisnorbo missed all of last season bar 15 minutes on the last day of the season against QPR. The resilient defender will be a big boost to the United squad and will act as a brand new signing.

This deal has been announced on the day Simon Grayson's squad departs for their pre-season tour to Scotland. That squad includes new singing Paul Rachubka, Kisnorbo and youngsters Alex Cairnes(GK), Zac Thompson, Nathan and Lewis Turner along with the rest of the expected first team squad.

Kisnorbo has committed his future to Leeds despite interest from Crystal Palace. A credit to his hard-work over the past 12 months, let's hope now that he can play just as an integral part of our Championship campaign as he did when we were promoted from League1.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Keepers from far and wide linked with Leeds

It's been ridiculous since Kasper Schmeichel left with Leeds being linked with almost every single keeper that might be available. A deal to bring Andy Lonergan to Elland Road was reportedly agreed on Monday, however with negotiations over his wages being a stumbling block in the deal it seems that Grayson is switching his sights to Fulham stopper, and Leeds born-lad David Stockdale.

All the madness surrounding the vacant goalkeeper spot is silencing rumours for players in the most desperate need of strengthening, the defence and midfield. Everyone is hoping to see some clarity at Elland Road this week and hopefully get some signatures signed and sealed before our first pre-season game.

Lonergan looks to Leeds

A deal to sign Andrew Lonergan, 27, from Preston North End was apparently agreed on Monday but the deal has hit a brick wall with the Whites in fierce negotiations over the stoppers wages. United have already signed Paul Rachubka from Blackpool on a free transfer and with the addition of Lonergan it would certainly get fans wondering who will wear the No.1 shirt.

But why sign a keeper that guarded the net of a Preston side that finished in the bottom three of the Championship conceding 79 goals. Paul Rachubka, 30, only played in three Premier League games last season with Blackpool conceding 12 goals. We seem to be signing two capable goalkeepers but not really improving what was an extremely shaky back-five last season, arguably the strongest part of that back-five was Kasper Schmeichel.

Ken Bates has come out and said that Leeds are in serious discussions with a number of players, and looking to sign four players. One of those will be a keeper, and with fans demanding that both the defence and midfield are strengthened that doesn't seem enough. Two midfielder's must be brought in to replace the departures of Bradley Johnson and Neil Kilkenny. Whilst the defence certainly needs bolstering after we conceded 70 goals only nine less than relegated side Preston and Sheffield United.

New Kit announced

The new Leeds United strip for the 2011/12 season has now been officially announced. Enterprise insurance will be the main kit sponsor of Leeds United this season. The kit is influenced on the 1991/92 Championship winning season. The kit is very eye catching however probably not in the right way. I think it's fair to say the new strip is not the nicest we have been graced with in recent times, although we've not had a nice kit in a very long time. We don't have to wait long to see how the players get on in the new kit when they head to Scotland on our pre-season tour.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Come Scotland there will be a sense of a squad

I believe come our pre-season trip to Scotland the squad will start to form shape. The fans have been assured that this seasons squad will be stronger than that of last terms. All the fans want to see signings, but hopefully Simon Grayson's patient approach will bring in the right players to take the club forward.

Links to old boys Smith, Bowyer and Woodgate have had mixed feelings, personally I think it is a risky road to go down especially after all the hard work we as a club have put in over the last few years to create a young vibrant squad of talented footballers. However that said, was it that experience that we lacked that may have cost us a Play-off position last year. We need to find the right balance.

I'm hoping that Simon has some tricks up his sleeve as we edge ever closer to kicking off for the first time in Scotland on the 13th July. This next week I expect to see Leeds bring in two more players to the squad, one of them being the addition of a second goalkeeper to challenge our only signing of yet Paul Rachubka.

I think all fans should remember that last season a lot of our signings made didn't live up to the bill. Injuries to Lloyd Sam, Billy Paynter and Ross McCormack meant they had a disruptive start to their Elland Road careers. All talented players and could effectively be like having three new signings. Criticism was fired at Paynter as our season drew to a close however a player that out scores Jermaine Beckford in League 1 with worse service will have talent. Come August we may see a new Billy Paynter. Paddy Kisnorbo will be a new addition to this years squad after the Aussie missed the entire Championship season. Players like Adam Clayton and Fede Bessone who spent time out on loan with lower league sides will have their chance to rejoin the squad to try to force their way into the side.