After unceremoniously bowing out the the playoffs, the hearty cheer of Leeds storming towards automatic promotion next year was echoed throughout the Elland Road set. Unfortunately, as foretold in the earliest stages of the previous campaign, should Leeds not win promotion the task would be far more complicated in the upcoming season as a number of players would move on. While that comment was a morsel too quiet for anyone to hear, the warning shot across the bow is now loud and clear as the days of Jermaine Beckford playing for the Whites is numbered.
Choosing to not extend his contract which expires at the end of next season, the striker has effectively secured his fate and will be shopped around for the best price. Despite Ken Bates waiving Leeds colours in the twenty-five year-old strikers direction, this is not a matter of loyalty and certainly not the fault of Mr. Beckford . He has effectively done all that he can do in League One and if he is to play at a higher level he cannot afford to wait any longer. It is a sad fact but Leeds had its opportunity, he served the club well but they were unable to "move up" with him and it is simply the a course of competitive sport.
At this stage, Leeds should be shuffling its negotiating cards and try to attract the best possible offer as soon as possible. As of this date, they've done "well" by using the media to announce that they are willing to keep him for the upcoming campaign and receive nothing for him in next years signing rather than sell him cheaply now. While such a tactical plan if truthful would be pure madness, the general sentiment is that newly relegated sides Middlesbrough and Newcastle are top contenders for his services along with Coventry City and Queens Park Rangers who are desperate need of attacking prowess.
While this issue is a hotbed for Leeds supporters, it is one that should have been expected. The club did not press winning automatic promotion enough last year and will likely pay for it dearly with personnel changes. Along with Jermaine Beckford, Leeds will be facing a series of other losses including Fabian Delph, Robert Snodgrass, Ben Parker, Aidan White, Tom Elliott and Luciano Becchio.
After considerable thought and debate this will serve as my final post on the this blog. If you care to apply for this blog please contact Daryl with The Offside (click here) after reviewing the guidelines at www.theoffside.com/bloggers.