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"He was practised at the art of deception" - at our feet, Leeds United's footloose man

Is Massimo Cellino more of a maverick Mick Jagger or a loose-cannon Keith Richards? Is the constant stream of transfer rumours a developing stream of falsehoods or is there a smokescreen being put up? Will Leeds fans be singing to vent their frustration or blowing a 50 Amp fuse come the shutting of the transfer window?

Maverick Jagger or Loose-Cannon Richards?
Maverick Jagger or Loose-Cannon Richards?
Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Let's face it, despite all the apparent disquiet at Barcelona and the situation surrounding him, we aren't getting Lionel Messi in this transfer window; even if our glorious leader can somehow manage to smuggle him in...tax paid of course.

As The Rolling Stones sang, "you can't always get what you want", but what Leeds fans 'want' and what they are 'promised' varies massively from what they always tend to 'get'. It's not that we are a demanding lot, we don't ask for the earth or demand a King's ransom; we simply ask for openness and transparency, effort and endeavour in both the way our club is run and the effort that is put in. I think that what Leeds fans like myself want is hope, hope that things are being run properly and just a general hope that, at the moment, things won't actually get any worse. Bearing in mind we are staring into the snarling mouth of a ferocious relegation battle, sitting two points away from the abyss isn't the most comfortable place to be.

Hope springs eternal so they say, but hope is in short supply at the moment in LS11. Like its namesake Bob, hope is dead. We don't want hope, we've been few a steady diet of that; we've fed a drip of it, drop-by-drop, little-by-little until all that we have left is desperation. That's normally the only guest left at the inn when Hope, Chance, Luck and Skill have all checked out and gone. We, and I count myself amongst them honestly thought that things had changed when Massimo Cellino's rivoluzione gloriosa rolled into town. Enamoured by his maverick nature, I took to him; maybe his apparent madness will fit right in to the ethos of this club. An owner no-one likes for the club everyone loves to hate, a match made in Heaven. Others flocked to the cause and stood by him. When the Football League recently said they'd failed him [Cellino] on the 'Owners and Directors' test as not being a 'fit and proper person', many Leeds fans went to a demonstration saying "we're gonna vent our frustration" at the decision.

However, my thought is that Leeds fans, despite clinging to the coat-tails of hope like a drowning man clinging to floating wreckage, are not actually bothered about getting what they want, they are simply hoping that they [Cellino and Salerno] try sometimes and and just might find you get what you need. The question is, what do Leeds United to turn things around and bring them away from the dangerous brink they find themselves at this moment.

The first move that has been a positive one is the change in formation that best suits the players that we have. The new 4-2-3-1 has packed the midfield area meaning that the opposition can no longer just pass through our 'engine room' and at our suspect centreback pairing; whichever Chuckle Brother is paired with whichever other Chuckle Brother. As a result, we've looked a lot more secure at the back and have been a lot harder to break down. Whilst we lost to Sunderland in the FA Cup, it was a much better performance and we drew 1-1 with an in-form Bolton team. The system is working defensively so that's one thing we need.

Talking of the midfield, we need to get it playing more creatively, it was a good move to push Sam Byram up there on the right but that not really enough. Lewis Cook played well and was at the heart of things during the last Championship game against Bolton; we created enough chances to outshoot the opposition for only the seventh time this season. What worries me is the fact that, if you are playing a lone striker up top, then the shooting opportunities to goals need to come from other midfield players. A system like this is both set up and crying out for a more creative input; someone like Adryan, the diminutive Brazilian playmaker, could thrive in such a midfield knowing that he doesn't have to run back to his own half to receive the ball before running at opponents. Couple that with playing Alex Mowatt in midfield who not only scores goals but also provides shooting assists and that pretty much gives us some more ammunition to fire the creativity in the team. Adopting this formation and packing the midfield will give selection problems to Neil Redfearn, who do you include and who do you leave out? Who are the 'go-to-guys' who are first on the teamsheet and who are those on rotation or, even worse, given the job as perennial bench warmers.

Like I said earlier, you can't always get what you want - not if El Jefe Cellino has his tuppence ha'pporth worth to say. Seems that we won't be getting Sassuolo's Leornardo Pavoletti after all. Despite turning up to watch the Wigan game, it seems that he's likely to stay in Italy after playing in Sassuolo's Coppa Italia 2-1 quarter final defeat to AC Milan. Another target, former Leeds favourite Luciano Becchio, confirmed by Neil Redfearn as one he 'wanted' has gone by the wayside due to the insistence of Cellino. Cellino had a lot to say on this matter saying "He's not the same player he was three years ago and Leeds is not the same club." That much is true. In some respects, there are increasing signs of stability off the field, but it also seems that there is still some kind of madman in charge.

Still, despite 'losing out' on these two strikers...and likely midfielder Rene Krhin, it still seems that there are a few more names being spun around in the 'Transfer Tombola': Sol Bamba, Granddi N'Goye, Luca Marrone and new name-on-a-ticket Albanian striker Edgar Çani. The thing is, between Redfearn's "yes we'll have 'em" transfer talk and Cellino's "Oh no we won't" pantomime reply it seems that whilst we might try sometimes, we won't get what we need.


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