When it was reported that Premier League newbies Brighton & Hove Albion’s goalkeeper David Stockdale had declined a new contract with the Sussex club, many Leeds United fans were excited about the opportunity to sign the boyhood Leeds fan to play on a permanent basis at Elland Road. However, those fans were disappointed to learn that Stockdale had signed a deal with Birmingham City to play under Harry Redknapp earlier this week.
Phil Hay of The Yorkshire Evening Post is reporting that Leeds representatives made contact with Stockdale once he made clear that he wasn’t returning to Brighton, but that an offer didn’t really materialize for the 31 year old keeper to return home to Leeds.
Leeds already has an established number one goalkeeper, former West Ham United and England international Rob Green. And while he’s 37 years old, and not getting any younger, signing another established goalkeeper over 30 years old isn’t necessarily the greatest succession plan at keeper, even if the player is available on a free transfer. Yes, it would have been a nice story to sign Stockdale to play in front of family in Yorkshire, but it wouldn’t necessarily have been the best transfer plan.
It also appears that the current backup keeper, Marco Silvestri is looking at taking his talents back to Italy, with a potential move to Bologna rumored to be in the works. While Silvestri heading back to Serie A may create a hole at backup keeper, signing another keeper on high wages to backup Green is folly, and Green has done nothing to justify replacing him in the lineup. Better to get a younger keeper on low wages and develop him rather than bring in another keeper to “challenge” Green, after all you can only play one keeper at a time.
While most of the attention has currently been paid to the manager search, there still are plenty of holes to be filled on the Leeds United roster. Central defender, left back, and striker are all priorities, and while a heartwarming story of Stockdale coming home would be nice, finding a new keeper should be relatively low for Victor Orta and the new scouts at the club.