Over the last week, our James Mahoney has suggested some names on both offence and defence that might be brought in in January to supplement the Leeds United push for promotion in 2017. Those articles have sparked conversation in the Through It All Together office, so we’re going to bring that conversation outside the office.
We’re bringing back the Weekly Wednesday Roundtable.
This summer, we filled our offseason with questions posed and answered by our staff. We’ve had 14 editions of the Roundtable so far... and you can read them all here.
But for this one, we’re getting specific. We asked our staff (of ten writers! 10! we’re almost ready to field TIAT FC, let us know if you want to play keeper) to name the position they’d most like to see supported in January, and then had them name someone who might possibly fit that role. Eight of our writers responded and their answers vary... and they’re all listed below (along with links to their Twitter accounts so you can agree with/laugh at them more directly).
Sitting around the roundtable this week: James Mahoney and Matt Robinson from Yorkshire, Jack Dudley from Cambridgeshire, Sean Ryan from Ireland, Ben Mallis from Australia, and Joshua Gilbert, Anatoliy Ivantchouk, and Johnny Wakefield from the States.
All of us are "all Leeds," and all of us try to answer the questions we present on Wednesdays to the best of our ability. It's not a quiz show, but it should give you insight into us as fans and writers alike.
And at the end, in the comments, don't forget to let us know how you'd answer the question of the week.
The Weekly Wednesday Roundtable... begins now.
If you could strengthen one position in January... which is it? And with whom?
James Mahoney: I think it’s clear: the position we must strengthen is the attack.
Chris Wood has been fantastic this season and I really like Marcus Antonsson's work rate. However, I'm not 100% sure he can it make in the Championship. If we lose Wood, we will definitely struggle to sustain a promotion challenge.
Therefore, my choice would be Chuba Akpom. He's available from Arsenal and gained promotion from the Championship last season with Hull. He has the youth and the pedigree at this level and he would add something different from what we currently have. MOT.
Matt Robinson: If I could strengthen one area in the summer it would be up top.
Chris Wood has had a very good season so far but the man needs support. Antonsson looks good off the bench but he's not in the same league as Chris Wood. I think Garry Monk is bound to playing one up front at the minute and we need someone who can challenge the Kiwi and give Monk the option to play two up top.
It has to be a slightly different striker to Wood, someone with pace who can play off his hold up play. Roofe may be able to fill this role given the chance, but I would still like to see Leeds sign someone like Nahki Wells. He's too good for Huddersfield and would give us good depth. I reckon we could get him for £8 million as well, bargain.
Jack Dudley: To start, I think Leeds need to sell Taylor this January, as much as it pains me to say. He'll go for free in the summer if we don't get promoted and I think the team is bigger than him.
We can still get promotion without him and with that I mind, I believe we use the money from his sale to get funds for a new starting left back.
Brendan Galloway, as an example, would be decent enough cover for his position even if only on loan for the rest of the season.
I hope Taylor stays with us as we go up. Hopefully we'll be looking very rosy by January and he can be persuaded.
Sean Ryan: Let’s add Ronaldo. Seriously, why not.
In all seriousness, we need a new keeper. Rob Green has been alright since his summer move to Elland Road, but he makes too many important mistakes (see the Newcastle game). A new keeper that's Premiership quality is something we need and need soon.
My choice is Alex McCarthy of Southampton. He's already spent time at Leeds back in 2012 and was an instant hit. Barring an injury or dramatic loss in form for Fraser Forester, McCarthy won't be going anywhere in the Saints side soon.
Dropping down a division isn't something he'll want to do, but in the form Leeds are in a swift return to the top flight could convince him.
Joshua Gilbert: I think Leeds should strengthen the winger/striker position on the pitch. A perfect player to fill that role is Everton outcast Oumar Niasse.
Two seasons ago, the striker/winger was Russian Premier League Player of the Year after his outstanding goal tally for Lokomotiv. After making a move to Everton in January of last season, he has been an outcast, and this year, he has been stuck playing with the U-23 team and has been scoring goals in his sleep.
Ronald Koeman said that if Niasse wants to see first team football, he needs to leave Everton. I think a loan bid for the attacking player from Senegal would be perfect for Leeds, as he adds another dimension to an attack that needs it to compete in the Championship.
Anatoliy Ivantchouk: If there is one area that Leeds need to shore up it has to be the attacking side of the team. Chris Wood has been the one consistent source of goals and the team has struggled to find a scoring threat outside of the Kiwi.
When January rolls around it would be wise to bring a fresh attacking option to the team, and with West Brom being linked with a certain left-back, why not set our eyes on one of their own?
Hal Robson-Kanu should be our target. He has not been able to secure consistent minutes with West Brom and replicate the sizzling form he had at the Euros for Wales. While West Brom probably won't sell him outright, there could be benefits to loaning him out. Leeds could use someone of his quality to give some much-needed support to Wood.
Ben Mallis: The forward line needs to be improved. While Chris Wood is scoring goals, he is more poacher than playmaker. (editor’s note: Ben has a great piece on this coming up next week. Watch for it.)
United need an attacking threat who can break games open to generate chances for both himself and those around him. Kemar Roofe could become this in time, but his game is not quite there yet.
Tom Rogic's name was mentioned back in January as a potential target, and I am still infatuated with the thought of Rogic switching hoops for all white. A move for Rogic - or someone of his ilk - could be the missing piece for United's promotion push.
Johnny Wakefield: I told the guys that they weren’t allowed to list Ronaldo or Messi types, guys that had no chance of ever coming to the Championship version of Leeds United. Of course, Sean broke that rule immediately.
I’m going to break it too.
I think it’s pretty clear that we need help on the attack. Chris Wood scores goals, and he’s been getting my vote for Player of the Month, but almost entirely because he’s the only one doing it. Kemar Roofe shows signs of being the electric playmaker we need behind Wood, but he’s not there yet. And for all the skill Pablo Hernandez has, he doesn’t have much life left in those legs (yes, I realize he’s younger than I am, screw it).
What we need is a young but proven, electrifying show-stopper, someone Andrea Radrizzani could both build his Leeds United club and build his Leeds United brand around. Someone whose name every kid wants on the back of his shirt. Someone that could join the team, improve everyone around him, and bring it to another level. That man?
That man is American 18-year-old phenom Christian Pulisic.
I don’t care that Dortmund told Liverpool to mind their own business when they asked if he was available. I don’t care that he’s already getting national team tifo attention. I don’t care that he’d likely cost more than Elland Road and Thorp Arch combined.
He’s already starting in Champions League games for Dortmund, but similar to players who signed with the Chicago Cubs in order to "do something special" before the 2016 Major League Baseball season, Pulisic should be interested, nay, he should be beside himself with excitement at the chance to join Leeds United, make it his own, and help our historic club return to glory.
(On the business side too, he’d be a marketing cash-cow for Radrizzani, and he’d attract more attention to Leeds from my side of the Atlantic than maybe ever before.)
He’d be the best player on the pitch every single night in the Championship. Next season in the Premier League? He will have had five months with his Leeds brethren, and with Ayling, Bartsson, Taylor, Bridcutt, O'Kane, Roofe, Pulisic, Sacko and Wood, we will be unstoppable. Maybe he'll even convince Jordan Morris to join the side....
....Alright, I’ve had enough to drink. That’s all for me. Vote Pulisic in 2017.