Let’s be honest, of late, Leeds United haven’t been the best to watch in the Championship. Since the Huddersfield game, the only match I can think that we played some half decent stuff was Middlesbrough, but even that was a game we could have quite easily have lost. First of all, I’m not complaining, quite frankly I’d rather see us pick up points than playing ‘pretty’ football and falling short but there’s no hiding from the fact that if you’re not playing well and losing consistently, questions will be raised. At the moment Leeds are on the borderline.
I think everyone is in agreement that Leeds are crying out for a creative player and that is probably true. Snodgrass has never really been replaced, Jerome Thomas was the closest we got and now he’s left, I highly doubt he’ll be coming back again this season. You may argue that we brought in Diouf, who has been a very good signing, but he’s nowhere near as direct as Snodgrass, he made things happen, he got you excited.
So, Warnock, GFH, what are you waiting for, go find us another Snoddy!? The truth is it’s not that simple. All those expecting mass business in January are going to be disappointed because it’s simply not possible. Clubs are only likely to let go of players they have been trying to get rid of all summer or will sell if they get a very generous offer. Use Chris Wood for an example, there were murmurs that Warnock was interested in the In-form striker but that he couldn’t compete with Leicester City’s financial muscle, which left a few fans worried. However, Leicester City has one of the best paid squads in the league, where players like Paul Konchesky are earning around 30 grand per week! Leeds’ top earners are unlikely to be on a salary much more than 15 grand a week. It is likely that Chris Wood will be at the top end of that scale now after bagging so many goals for Millwall and that simply put, is a lot of money for Championship players.
Whilst we are likely to be able to pay better wages now it’s important to respect the players you already have, quality has to be paid for but not for an inflated January price! In fairness to Warnock, I can’t see him paying over the valuation of any player, I also have no doubts that he’s trying to improve the squad, my only doubts is if anyone he brings in will actually improve us much.
For me, our two best creative players are Ross McCormack and El-Hadji Diouf, who are both front men. The last few games, Warnock has tried to play them both in the same team as Becchio, a bold move but one which has yet to pay off. Leeds have still looked unimaginative and have struggled to get there foot on the ball and create a real host of chances but it’s hardly surprising. Ross is a striker, he scores goals, it’s a bonus that he’s technically a great player and he needs to be given chances too, not being pressured to create them all the time.
Creativity must come from your midfielders, its ok Ross and Diouf dropping off and looking for the ball, in fact that’s great but sometimes they have to be in the box and they need service along with Becchio. That is why wingers are so important, not only do the stretch the play but if they can put real quality into the box then 9 times out of 10 I would back one of them three to work the goalkeeper at least.
Again, going back to my last point, these players are not going to be easy to find. The beauty of Snodgrass and Max Gradel is not only their forward play but there work rate, they had a defensive game to compliment, granted it wasn’t the best but they were a dream for a left and right back to play behind. They are special players, both worth much more than what they were sold for which makes them harder to replace.
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Over the last couple of years Leeds fans have been blessed with an exciting, attacking team but those players have left, now we’re all hustle and work rate and it’s not going to be easy to find the players to go back to the attacking flair we once had. If Leeds want to improve the team then they will have to spend money, probably more than what they would like. I think Michael Tonge will come back, along with an attacking player with a bit of pace, anything else will probably be an unexpected bonus. All you fans that are expecting a deadline day, multi-million, Robinho-esque signing, better re-evaluate as I don’t think we’ll see the true spending potential of GFH until the summer.[info]Reporter – Daniel Howard[/info]