Yesterday saw Leeds United complete the signing of Mikael Forssell on a free transfer. A good signing many would agree if he can stay fit, but this deal automatically begs the question of what now for Billy Paynter.
Good old Billy 'Barn-door' Paynter certainly hasn't hit the ground running since he moved from Swindon just over a year ago. After his free-transfer move last summer many expected big things from him, after all he had been outstanding against Leeds in the previous two fixtures. Instead we haven't seen an awful lot, just one goal against a depleted Preston North End last season. So with Billy unable to find the net, will he be on his way out after the Forssell deal was completed.
Simon Grayson now has six strikers within his squad, five at his disposal due to Davide Somma's long-term injury. Due to their current form Ross McCormack and Andy Keogh look certain starters. Forssell looks set to be the third choice at the moment due to Luciano Becchio's fitness problems. Becchio himself seems to be fourth choice, but how long that will last is anybody's guess. If Becchio can get match fit ahead of the Bristol City game, it wouldn't surprise me if he started against Manchester United.
This therefore leaves poor Billy fifth choice, basically last as you can't count the crocked Somma. It almost makes you feel sorry for the poor bloke. I was one of few of Paynter's fans, apart from Becchio we have no aerial threat within our squad. On forums, Twitter and on Facebook I supported him on my own at times, but I just can't see a future for Paynter at Elland Road anymore.
Paynter receives a lot of abuse from fans, and some of it is justified. It seems most want him to do well for his likeable character, plus the fact he wears the white shirt. Those I have spoke to who have met the man have said what a nice guy he is even though they couldn't understand a word he said. I met him at Thorp Arch a few weeks back and he was a top guy, but being nice doesn't make you a good footballer. In fact I couldn't care less if he was a awful human being, as long as he put the ball in the back of the net.
Brighton were interested in Paynter and made a deadline day bid, much to the shock of the Leeds faithful. Apparently neither player or Grayson wanted the move to come to fruition, and Paynter remains at Leeds, but for how long? The loan market is now open which could mean Paynter makes a move elsewhere, in a bid to score some goals and secure a permanent move.
I respect him for staying and trying to prove the doubters wrong, instead of jumping ship to avoid further criticism. The former Swindon striker has been unlucky with injuries and breaks within the team. The final two league games of last season saw Paynter improve, with a strike partner in Ross McCormack. However a missed opportunity against Southampton and yet another injury have pushed Billy back to the bottom of the pile. The next few weeks and months are vital in Paynter's chances of first-team action, Grayson must see something in training the fans don't, like the odd goal for example.
I really hope he can get fit once again and score some goals, but with the growing list of strikers I just can't see where Paynter will fit in.
I know one thing, if Paynter moves he will score bucket loads of goals and more than likely a hat-trick against Leeds.