What should Leeds do to plan for next season?


Following the 2-1 defeat to Sheffield United Paul Heckingbottom seemed to accept defeat in Leeds’ bid for the top six and quite rightly so.

Although Leeds only trail Bristol City by 8 points, the same amount that Fulham trailed Leeds last season, the general feeling is the same as Heckingbottom’s. This season is a write off.

Cast your minds back to two seasons ago, Brighton had just lost in the play-off semi final. The next day Chris Hughton and co were pictured on Twitter in the boardroom laying down the plans for next season. They went and won promotion by finishing second that season.

Leeds should be doing the same but within the next few weeks.

Heckingbottom is going to be here next season and by the end of the month will probably have an idea of who he wants to stay and who needs to be shipped out before the start of next season.

So who are the handful of players under scrutiny from fans?

Liam Cooper

Has been some fans scapegoat over the last couple of seasons but has he really done that much wrong?

His sending off at Cardiff was stupid but I still believe his sending off against Millwall wasn’t a red card.

Most players are bound to make a mistake throughout the season and it would be a shame to see Cooper leave as I believe he can be a valuable squad player, just like when he was cover to Bartley and Jansson last season.

Verdict: Keep for back up

Pawel Cibicki

Hardly had a chance but like a lot of players brought in during the summer seems to lack the strength needed to get through a Championship season.

We will probably see him loaned out like his fellow countryman Marcus Antonsson.

Verdict: Loan

Hadi Sacko

One of the most frustrating players to ever pull on a Leeds shirt. Can beat a man but seems to lose all composure with the byline in site.

Would be best for Sacko to be moved on and for Leeds to get some form of cash for him.

Verdict: Sell

Ezgjan Alioski

Alioski has taken a lot of criticism a lately for looking tired and lacking ideas. Personally I don’t think he’s a terrible player but is in need of a rest. Part of this is because he has been the only out and out winger starting in the side for the past few months and therefore has been Leeds’ only outlet.

I still think he can do a job in this division if managed correctly and has a great work rate for tracking back but don’t think he has the quality to be starting every week.

Verdict: Keep for back up

Eunan O’Kane

Has let Leeds down on numerous occasions either by landing a head butt on someone or errors leading to goals.

I think most fans feel the same and it would probably be best for both parties if O’Kane moved on.

Verdict: Sell

Kemar Roofe

Roofe is tough one to call. He’s been out of sorts as of late but there seems to be a decent Championship player in there, one that could effect a game off the bench, like Alioski, and someone who could fill in positions when needed so wouldn’t be a bad squd player to have.

Despite this, if it didn’t work out next season then I’d say it’d be time to move Roofe on.

Verdict: Keep for back up

Mateusz Klich

Like Cibicki and co questions have been asked about whether Klich has got what it takes deal with the demands of the Championship.

There’s been raving reviews coming back after a short period of time and after spending £1.5 million will Leeds let him go without a fight? Why wasn’t he playing much? Did he have a fall out with Thomas Christiansen? There seems to be talent there but is there enough? The problem is we don’t know

I think it’d be worth letting him stay and see whether he wants to fight for a place.

Verdict: Keep for back up

Vernon Anita

No one seems to know his actual position and you can imagine Anita is on a fair bit of money. Like O’Kane it’s probably best for both parties if he was moved on.

Verdict: Sell

Jay Roy Grot

Only young and needs to learn his trade elsewhere next season. Preferably in this country.

Fifa rules prevented Leeds from loaning Grot elsewhere this season.

Verdict: Loan

Where does that leave us?

First XI: Felix Wiedwald, Luke Ayling, Pontus Jansson, Laurens De Bock, Ronaldo Vieira, Adam Forshaw, Samu Saiz

Positions required: Centre back, right winger, left winger, striker

Squad Players: Andy Lonergan, Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Gaetano Berardi, Liam Cooper, Mateusz Klich, Kalvin Phillips, Stuart Dallas, Pablo Hernandez, Tyler Roberts, Kemar Roofe, Caleb Ekuban

Transfer list: Hadi Sacko, Eunan O’Kane, Vernon Anita

Loan list: Jay Roy Grot, Pawel Cibicki

Overall verdict

All this could change in the next few months depending on how Heckingbottom judges his squad or if Leeds go on a mad run until the end of the season but for now it’s the general feeling amongst Leeds fans that these players are under pressure.

If you were to look at the above then it is quite evident that Leeds are missing about four or five first team starters if they are to be serious contenders for a promotion push.

This could be more or less depending on the likes of Felix Wiedwald as he is still under pressure from some but from a financial side it wouldn’t be the best idea to splash a lot of money on someone who has started to turn in some impressive performances.

As well as this Tyler Roberts is still yet to pull on a Leeds shirt so not being able to put any judgement on him is the reason he was placed in the squad players category. Who knows, he may fill the need for a winger or a striker in the first team which would save Leeds a lot of money but only time will tell.

De Bock is still yet to prove a lot but like Wiedwald I can’t see Leeds spending more money on position they have just signed in January.

One of the main problems is still surrounding a centre forward. Will Lassoga sign on or go back to Hamburg?

Whether they will get him or not it will still probably require a hefty chunk of our transfer budget for next season to either sign him or replace him but like I said above, the hole could could be filled by Tyler Roberts, we just don’t know yet.

All this isn’t including any potential under 23’s that could make the step up to the first team but it’s quite evident that Leeds have got a lot of work to do to streamline their squad for next season if they are going to be serious contenders.

Agree or disagree? Let us know what you think on Twitter: @RITGK

Reporter | Matthew Beedle

You may also like our other article…

  • Richard Silverwood

    How about Orta going before we decide about who to go and stay