It's been two days since Maxi left the club, but I haven't been able to get my thoughts up on here due to working commitments.
The news of Max Gradel's departure didn't come as a shock. Although we had been promised by the man in charge that Gradel was going nowhere, we just knew that he may leave. The fact that Ken Bates suggested no deal would be done, pretty much confirmed a deal would be done. Everyone remembers Fabian Delph leaving Elland Road only a few weeks after Mr Bates had yet again made false promises.
All summer long the club had announced that Gradel was to remain a Leeds player, even though his contract only had one year to run. It was clear something was wrong from the start, how can any club not sign up one of their best players from the previous season. But we have seen it in the past with Beckford, but we were told this time it was different.
The news from the St Etienne official site sparked outrage from fans on Facebook and Twitter. Many fickle fans were clinging on to the slightest hope that the story was wrong and Gradel was staying put. It wasn't to be and the club confirmed his departure late on Tuesday night.
The main question is who's fault is it, and why did Max Gradel leave? Did he use the club as a stepping stone for bigger and better things, or was their funadmental mistakes from key members within the club. I guess we will never know the exact truth, unless Grayson writes a book later in life, because Ken will just tell us what he wants. The obvious blame would lie with Bates and Shaun Harvey, two men who's job it is to bring players into the club, and keep those already at Elland Road happy. Why not sign Gradel up last season when we knew his contract status, it sounds so simple and easy.
But what is it that easy for Bates and his merry men? Was it Gradel and his agent causing all the problems for the club. In the press Gradel claimed he was happy and wanted to play for the club for many years to come, I love the fans blah blah you get the picture. Max was telling us he wanted to stay, Ken was claiming he was staying yet Max has gone to France and we are left in the dark once again. For once the blame can't go towards Bates, I know everything else is usually his fault but Gradel handed in a request and asked to leave a club he apparently loved to play for.
The photo above doesn't exactly portray Gradel's depressed side, in fact he looks bloody delighted to be going to Ligue 1.
From his point of view why wouldn't he, Gradel grew up in France and it means more money and better prospects for his career. Last season Max was fantastic scoring 18 goals and working tirelessly in every match in the white shirt. It looked like he had finally moved on from his horror show against Bristol Rovers two seasons ago and was on his way into Leeds United folklore.
Nothing can last forever though and at Leeds we have had plenty of 'ups and downs' to cushion the blow of Gradel leaving. Woodgate, Smith, Milner to name a few were all hard to take, but we moved on and we need to follow suit now. Max Gradel was a terrific player, frustrating at times but never lazy. I think the early parts of this season show Gradel's heart wasn't there in his performances, I mentioned to a friend on Sunday that Gradel didn't really celebrate Ross McCormack's goal against Ipswich.
I could moan and groan for hours on end about the saga but in all honesty I am glad it's finally over. At least the club can move on now, because the speculation caused problems at the club and between the fans. Max wanted to leave Leeds and that is pretty much the end of the matter, if a player doesn't want to play they won't give their all any more. Many players have come and gone at Leeds and there will be plenty more in the future.