Leeds United are finally in the conversation of promotion contenders, but a culture of selling our best, in-form players has haunted Leeds over the last few seasons. Now, just when the footballing world has begun to take notice again, will we be losing another young star? Is there any weight to the rumor of the club losing star left-back Charlie Taylor?
Taylor, voted The Fans Player of The Year for the 2015/16 campaign, has had a successful start to the 2016/17 Championship season, putting in some sizzling displays. Taylor leads the team in passes completed with 669 total passes stringed together from the left-back position.
However, most Leeds fans are aware of the fact that Taylor put in a transfer request in the summer during a period where several Premier League sides, including West Brom, had shown interest. This shows a clear desire from the player to make a move happen, but the question is will Taylor buy into a promotion push from Leeds come January?
Leeds have somewhat surprisingly found themselves positioned in sixth and within three points of third in the table at the November international break. A huge matchup this weekend against Newcastle might go a long way in convincing Taylor if his side are legitimate promotion contenders.
West Brom, looking to fill a gap at the left-back position, have found themselves also surprising some pundits by being 11th in the Premier League in what is proving to be one of the most competitive seasons in recent memory accompanying an influx of managerial talent. West Brom Manager Tony Pulis is rumoured to be ready to offer a transfer sum in the region of £5 million to tempt the Leeds ownership.
While Leeds will surely be reluctant to sell yet another star in the middle of what could be a promotion campaign, things can change fairly quickly in an extremely tight Championship table. With Taylor's contract running out in the summer, Leeds would risk leaving a large sum of money on the table if Taylor does not re-sign with the club.
So how will this story play out?
A lot of Taylor's future might come down to how Leeds perform against Championship leaders Newcastle, who come into the match on a seven-game win streak. If Leeds were to manage a win against a hugely favored team like Newcastle it could convince Taylor that something special was in the works at Elland Road. Taylor will need to put in a great shift in defense to hold down a Newcastle side that has already scored 34 goals in 16 league matches.
Another great performance from Taylor could be a double-edged sword though for Leeds.
If Taylor was to put in anything close to a MOTM performance against Newcastle, Premier League sides might come calling with even more urgency. This could even give Leeds leverage to potentially sell Taylor for more if their hand was forced.
For now, these are just rumors, and as long as Leeds are in the promotion hunt we can hope that Taylor will be staying put. But this transfer rumor might hinge on the next two weeks, and it just might be the season-defining stretch for a truly exciting Leeds United side.