With January fast approaching, the attention over the next few weeks will start to turn to who Garry Monk will be bringing to Elland Road this transfer window. As my esteemed colleague James articulated very nicely last week, Leeds are injury laden at present and with a relatively small squad, strengthening in the right areas is vital.
Leeds never being one to blow the budget though, there will be an inevitable departure or two in the coming weeks, and while I was looking through the full squad listings yesterday, I’ve selected my top five who I think are most likely to leave this window, most of whom won’t really be missed.
1. Ross Turnbull
The veteran keeper signed back in the summer of 2015, and at the time most fans thought he would challenge Marco Silvestri for the number 1 jersey. It couldn’t have turned out more differently over the past year, with his only start being in the League Cup to Doncaster where he failed to navigate Leeds though a penalty shootout.
If Silvestri’s penalty shoot out exploits last month nearly earned him a recall to the first team, then Turnbull’s did quite the opposite. He hasn’t been anywhere near the match day squad since then and with Rob Green taking the number one spot in the summer and promising young BPF coming through the ranks, there is just no point to keeping Turnbull anymore.
His contract expires in the summer so Leeds are better off trying to get any sort of money for him now before he scampers off to a League One side to bench warm next year.
2. Luke Murphy
Luke Murphy, well, you came and you gave without taking, but we sent you away, Luke Murphy. Well, you kissed me and stopped me from shaking, but we don’t need you today, Luke Murphy.
Right, now that’s done.
Luke Murphy was our big money signing from Crewe back in 2013 for a cool £1 million. He arrived with much promise as a talented young player from the renowned Crewe Academy. To be fair to Murphy, I always thought he was better than most fans gave him credit for and in spells he’s been a good player for Leeds.
He never quite lived up to the potential though and as one of the players that Monk clearly has no interest in, he has to be leaving in January. He’s still Championship quality in my mind and I would expect to see him pop up at the like of Rotherham or Cardiff. With his contract running all the way to 2019, he needs to be shifted off the wage bill as soon as possible, even if he did this once.
3. Matt Grimes
Grimes joined on a season long loan back in the summer and he’s simply not lived up to the billing. Clearly Monk saw something back when he was at Swansea, and to be honest, it’s unlikely he will actually ship Grimes off while we remain light on players.
For me though, Grimes takes up part of a wage bill and doesn’t add enough to the squad. Despite playing well against Reading on Tuesday, I guarantee he won’t play another game as long as we don’t have 4/5 midfield injuries like we currently have. We’ll keep him for depth, but we shouldn’t.
Taking Sacko off for Matt grimes is like throwing away a steak and opting for a kick in the balls. #lufc— Danny Priestley (@DannyPriestley) December 9, 2016
Being part of the Junior Ultimate Frisbee team that won the national championships 3 years running quite simply isn’t enough to change my mind on him. Impressive though.
4. Toumani Diagouraga
Where did it all go wrong for Toums? After signing from a successful Brentford side last January, he seemed to make an instant impact in that defensive midfield role and played a vital part in Steve Evans’ successful run in latter stages of the season.
Playing two deep laying midfielders isn’t exactly Monk’s usual game plan though, and with Bridcutt and Vieira now battling it out, it appears there is no room at the inn for big Toums. In the same vein as Murphy, I can see him popping up at another championship club this January; again the likes of Rotherham, Barnsley or even a return to Brentford may be on the cards.
And yes, number 5 is Charlie Taylor.
It’s now or never for Charlie Taylor. With his contract up in the summer, its either new contract time or get on your bike time, assuming Cellino isn’t stupid enough to let him go on a free (who knows?).
My money is on Charlie leaving, and with West Brom rumoured to be offering us £5 millionish, I would expect Cellino to take it and put his faith in Monk having a suitable replacement lined up.
It’s not a straight forward decision for Taylor though. Sam Byram can’t get a game at West Ham when he’s healthy, Lewis Cook can’t get a game at Bournemouth when he’s healthy, and with Leeds pushing for a serious play off place, Charlie may have to re-think the grand plan. It may not be Premier League wages, but something special is happening this season and he may want to stick around and be part of it.
The glitz and glamour of the Premier League was too much for the academy graduates before him though and I fully expect he’ll be gone come February.
We’ll always have the good times, Charlie. Enjoy the bench at a mediocre Premier League club; we’ll see you again twice in 2017/18.
Was there anyone we missed that will be gone in January? Let us know in the comments below. MOT.