In the previous two articles, we explored how Leeds United’s January transfer policy should reflect the fact that their rivals for promotion will certainly strengthen, as they look to make a belated, Fulham-esque push for the Premier League. We also had a butchers at four names that have been doing the rounds in recent weeks, and it made for somewhat depressing reading. So what more can Leeds do to bolster the squad? What may be going on behind the scenes? And who can take this highly-competitive squad forward into a bright future?
Kamil Grosicki: It’s a cold, dark winters night in 1987, and in the Polish town of Szczecin, Mr. and Mrs. Grosicki are visited in their home by an angel. The angel said unto them: ‘I bear exciting news. In the New Year, you will conceive a son, who will have the combined qualities of Stuart Dallas and Robert Snodgrass, who will play in one of the most competitive Poland sides ever on the world stage, and who, by some travesty of fate, will take a wrong turn on the motorway and end up signing for Hull City. Rejoice unto Him, and let your prayers dictate that Radz gets his chequebook out and frees this graceful peacock from this den of tigers.’
Will it happen? I’m starting a petition. He’s a left-winger who can score and make goals. He’s a full international alongside his pal Klich, and he runs like a devil. He tore us to pieces on Saturday, and the one consistent feature in Hull’s recent form has been Grosicki tearing teams to pieces. I don’t care what his wages are. I don’t even care that he’s thirty. This lad belongs in a Leeds shirt, in the Premier League.
Ivan Toney: I suspect that we will very shortly be linked with this player, or maybe Marcus Maddison again. Not a transfer window goes by where we aren’t linked with some such Peterborough United player. Toney is a former Newcastle striker who has scored plenty of goals this season. He is still young and he’s English. These are traits Bielsa seems to favour. Plus, Peterborough have two other strikers, Matt Godden and Jason Cummings, who are performing very well, and they are also re-signing Lee Tomlin.
Will it happen? I think he will be linked with us, and probably with the usual Forests and Derbys, but that we will ultimately decide that it’s too much of a risk and pass. It will be a rather depressing repeat of the summer that saw fans hounding Darragh MacAnthony on Twitter for Jack Marriott/Marcus Maddison info, when no such move was forthcoming. I would rather we went for an extra centre-back. And incidentally…
Matthew Clarke: A very consistent and solid performer at centre-half for League One leaders Portsmouth, who is at an age where he can potentially step up a level and try his luck, a la Liam Cooper. Can also bake goodies, which might come in handy when we are celebrating winning the league. Like Toney, a typical sort who I feel we will very shortly become linked with, and to whom we have been linked before.
Will it happen? Bielsa has made his feelings very clear. All defenders have to be ball-players, and would require a pre-season to play his way effectively. This is probably why we aren’t going after any defenders, even those as good as Mason Holgate. We will see Jamie Shackleton at centre-back before we see a League One defender. There was an opportunity in the summer to sign John Egan, who went to Sheffield United, which I still feel was a chance missed.
And for my Saiz replacement, I’m going to cause a bit of a stir…
Fernando Forestieri: There is one that can play through the middle and can do what Saiz did, but do we want to suck up our pride, drive down the road and ask him? It’s true, a lot of things have changed since Forestieri notoriously rejected Massimo Cellino and Leeds to join The Owls, including the introduction of a Spanish director of football and an Argentinian coach at Elland Road. While Leeds have prospered under fresh ownership, Sheffield Wednesday have breached Financial Fair Play severely, been placed under a transfer embargo and have now been put up for sale. Forestieri is a high earner and sure to be sold for the right price. We have already been linked tentatively to Owls favourites Keiran Westwood and Adam ‘Reaches-The-Goal-From-Anywhere’ Reach.
Will it happen? My instincts say no, because there are too many issues. Although Wednesday would probably accept a decent bid, that does not guarantee that the player will want the move; he already rejected it once. As for us, I do not see the majority of fans accepting a player who consciously chose Sheffield Wednesday over Leeds. I would, but only because I want to see Pablo restored to his rightful place on the wing. Forestieri is also in trouble with the law following an altercation in a pre-season friendly with Mansfield Town, in which the player is alleged to have committed a racially-aggravated assault. He’s now a wanted man, because he didn’t turn up to court to answer to this. Probably wishes he’d joined Leeds.
Acquiring Karl Darlow and Grosicki would be an ideal January for me. If Bielsa finds a defender who can play his way, is the right age and who we can afford, even better. Whatever happens may dictate just how competitive Leeds are able to be in the second half of this amazing season.