Rumours linking Sam Byram with a move to the Premier League have got Leeds fans divided once again. On one hand, selling him would bring in a nice £4 million plus. On More »
GK- Marco Silvestri – Marco will start every league game unless he gets injured so this is a shoe in selection. He looked solid against Middlesbrough on Saturday and was comfortable at coming off his line and commanding his penalty area.
Into the defense…
Ahead of Tuesday night’s game against Brighton & Hove Albion at Elland Road, we asked Brighton fan Sam Peters a few questions about his team and their start to the season..
So, the new season hasn’t begun like you would have hoped but can you put your finger on what’s going wrong currently?
Yep it’s not how we would have liked it to have started but it was the same sort of start last year under Oscar Garcia, what has not helped this season was letting some players leave the club on free transfers (Kuszczak, Lopez, Orlandi,) and also Leicester taking Upson from us did not help the situation and then Ward left who was great for us at left back and now has ended up at Burnley, along with so far in this window alone that we have sold Ulloa to Leicester and Buckley to Sunderland, it has left the squad very thin in areas but I hope in the next 2 weeks that we will bring a quality striker just like with you lot signing Sharp.
New boy Billy grabs the points and the headlines.
The game began brightly for Leeds as an early opportunity was created for Sharp but the through-ball from Ajose was just ahead of Sharp and he couldn’t quite beat the keeper to the ball, the rebound fell to Ajose whose tame effort was cleared by the Middlesbrough defence. Middlesbrough began to dominate possession and was trying to turn the screw on Leeds. Middlesbrough did have the ball in the back in the net but the goal was subsequently disallowed by referee Stuart Attwell for dangerous play, much to the annoyance of Boro manager Aitor Karanka. Leeds did enjoy spells towards the end of the half and we began to play our game and the overall feeling I got was, when we thought about playing and got it down we did look decent but more often than not we were still trying to lump the ball forward and with Sharp seemingly playing through the middle on his own he was unable to win much in the air but we managed to bring the ball down, his holdup play was good and was able to link with the midfield very well.
The second half seemingly began in the same fashion but after 54 minutes, and credit where credit is due, Dave Hockaday changed things by bringing Michael Tonge on for Doukara and that seemed to add more balance and composure to our team. Now, for all Michael Tonge’s criticism, the one thing he does add to our team is a calm composure on the ball and much-needed experience in a relatively in-experienced team. Clear cut chances were few and far between for both sides but Billy Sharp had a very good chance from a Luke Murphy set piece but he steered his header wide with the goal gaping at his mercy. After he had missed you were left wondering if this game was to head for a 0-0, although, the guy behind me was adamant we were going to grab the 3 points in injury time. Not quite injury time but sure enough, Billy Sharp read his script and delivered. Michael Tonge hit an opportunistic effort from the edge of the area which Middlesbrough ‘keeper Mejias spilled out and sure enough, there was Billy Sharp to gamble and put his chance to make Elland Road erupt.
After leaving the game, it did actually feel a bit like a smash and grab considering the possession that Middlesbrough had, but after recording the game and watching it back this morning, I don’t feel that way anymore. Yes, Boro had the possession but they didn’t create anything either and our defensive play was impressive. For the first time since signing him, I could sit, well stand as we all do, and really see why Stephen Warnock has been awarded 2 England caps and was included in the 2010 world cup squad. Albert Adomah is a very good player and Warnock dealt with him well, he made many of crucial interceptions and stunning challenges. Without doubt his best performance in a Leeds shirt. Liam Cooper, who signed in midweek also had an impressive debut, despite making a few mistakes early on, most likely through nerves, he really improved as the game went on, which is the sign of a good player. The only thing that was noticeable between him and Pearce was that the combination of two left footed centre halfs looked a little unbalanced but on the whole they did very well.
As many reporters were saying after yesterday’s game, it would appear that Billy Sharp was born to play for Leeds. After a dream debut at Elland Road, fans, teammates and the press were all quick to praise Sharp following a passionate display and a perfect introduction to Leeds fans. Sharp really grafted hard and no doubt deserved his goal, every ball that was seemingly dead he chased it down, and honestly, that’s all we ask for isn’t it?
The main thing I was impressed with though was a team performance, something we haven’t seen for a very long time. Every player ran themselves into the ground for the shirt and I couldn’t be more pleased for the team to come away with this victory, onto Brighton on Tuesday night now, a game where we need to pick up the points and continue to make Elland Road a fortress once more.
Leeds team. Silvestri 6, Byram 6, Pearce 7, Cooper 7, Warnock 8, Austin 7, Murphy 7, Bianchi 6, Ajose 6, Doukara 6, Sharp 8.
Subs: Tonge 7, Cook 5 (Standard mark for only getting 5 minutes and nothing to do), Poleon 6.
Man of the match: Hard choice between Sharp and Warnock, but, I’m gonna agree with Sky and give my man of the match to Stephen Warnock.
Leeds United are today closing in on the signing of Kieran Agard from Rotherham. The winger/striker, who scored 26 goals in league one last season, is highly rated and would be a great signing for us. Leeds scouts watched Agard on numerous occasions last season and he was even watched by Cellino himself in the playoffs. Leeds have no agreed a fee for the 24-year-old.
It was first reported last night –
— Sean Taylor (@seantaylorpress) August 14, 2014
RE Kieran Agard Staff at one of the clubs & a source close to the player both seem to think a fee has been agreed
— Sean Taylor (@seantaylorpress) August 14, 2014
This morning it was confirmed by Phil Hay, writer for the Yorkshire Evening Post.
— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) August 15, 2014
If this signing is completed it would be a real statement of intent from Cellino and we would suddenly have one of the better strike forces in the Championship. This season could have changed completely in the past week. As I recently tweeted, the defeat to Millwall could be the best loss Leeds United ever had.
Rumours linking Sam Byram with a move to the Premier League have got Leeds fans divided once again. On one hand, selling him would bring in a nice £4 million plus. On the other hand, we would be losing a player who has the potential to become a very good player. He has already made over 80 first-team appearances, at the age of just 20. He was our best player in his first professional season for the White’s, even winning goal of the season with his solo effort against Oxford United. Yes he didn’t have the best second season, but you can blame that on injury. Saying that, even when he was fit Brian McDermott didn’t want to replace Peltier.
You always hear people saying every player has his price – yes they do, but this isn’t the point. Surely selling McCormack for £11 million makes selling any other player we have for money irrelevant? Byram has become a fans favourite since coming into the first-team, and it would be such a shame to see him move on in a transfer window when we’re supposed to be improving the team. We won’t sign another right-back who is as good as or better than Sam. We’ve got Berardi but making the transition from Italian football to English football isn’t always an easy process, it could take plenty of time before we see the best of a player who has made one appearance for Switzerland. He’s also suspended for the next three games so selling Byram before then would leave us with no recognised player on the right side of defence.
He’s also versatile and can play in a number of positions. When played on the wing he looked brilliant, especially given at times he was caught out when played at full-back but we’ll blame that on youth and inexperience. He also looked decent when fielded in the wing-back role in our 5-3-2 days. I’ve always thought Sam would be a great central midfielder but we haven’t seen him given the chance there yet and with our central midfield packed it doesn’t look like we’ll see him played in that role anytime soon.
You’ve seen players make the move to football’s top-level at an early age and then fade away, this could happen with Sam. Then again, if he was to move to one of Sunderland or Southampton he would still play plenty of games, so it wouldn’t hamper his development. My personal feeling is that I don’t want to see him leave, I’d be devastated – more gutted than I was when McCormack left. He has so much to offer and he’s been at the club since 2005, it would be Howson all over again. At the end of the day, money talks in football and if a club meets the player’s valuation then it’s inevitable that he’ll be sold, and if Byram himself wants to leave and move to a higher division then who would deny him that chance?
So we’re 2 games in and coming to the business end of the transfer window, so far we’ve drafted in a fair few from the Italian leagues (expected) and from looking at most of them they seem to be an alright bunch (albeit a bit trigger happy with the kung fu kicks) but for some reason we are playing them in and around players that didn’t get a look in last season (Norris, Wooton etc.). Now this might be down to necessity more than want but it is getting a bit annoying when I hear comments like ‘Tonge has been the best player on the pitch’ on Soccer Saturday when we’re supposed to upgrading the team not moving sideways or even backwards in defense in my opinion (I don’t really rate Wooton) so this is the bad side of things really, we keep playing Hunt who is about as useful as a chocolate fireplace and I think Morison will get found out against the bigger teams, so really that leaves us with Smith (angry about play time), Poleon (Angry about play time) and Doukara who seems to be a good buy but you can’t expect him to play every match and score 20+ goals.
Now obviously we’ve just signed Ajose and Sharp which make up a pretty solid attacking force now but why do I get the feeling we’ll still be seeing the aforementioned chocolate fireplaces gracing our pitch. I would presume I’m not the only one who though we would never see Hunt in a Leeds shirt again and most likely expected him to line up against us in a future game but alas he was there, taking up a space that could have been filled by a Poleon or even Mcdaid (who seems to have vanished..) would have been preferred. there was also Warnock at LB? Why when we have Charlie Taylor waiting to burst onto the scene are we still playing him? He has been a good servant for us but he is one for the past now and we should be letting our youth players get their chance on the big stage now!
But enough about the bad, lets move onto the good and boy has there been a lot of it in the last 24 hours.
We’ve signed a player we have been chasing for literally years, Billy Sharp is finally a Leeds player and its about time, we all know he knows where the net is, now he’s ranged from around 10 – 30 goals a season and he has scored a lot more goals than Ross has in the same amount of games (give or take about 10 Sharps way) and with 6 months age difference I think we’ve done a stunning piece of business here, 11 million comes in and by the looks of it £600k going out can’t argue with those figures. We’ve also signed Liam Cooper, another very strong move in the transfer market, he’s a very promising defender and has been bossing the lower leagues for a while now, at 22 he’s got many years ahead of him and I can only see him getting better and better, him and Pearce at the back is an exciting prospect. If my sources are correct as well we have gone serious on the Agard rumour and that leads for very exciting times if true.
And finally the ugly, well ugly but pretty damn cool to watch in slow motion, of course it is Berardi’s flying kick, reminiscent of Michael Brown’s tackle on Karacan a couple of seasons back. Obviously it’s a serious matter but seriously, watch it in slow motion whilst making Jackie Chan noises haha.
So all in all I am pretty confident in our chances this season now, I never thought about relegation but I was a bit disappointed with our start and almost gave up on the season straight away, but their is light at the end of tunnel I believe now.
Leeds United are in talks with Southampton over the transfer of Billy Sharp. Rumours have been floating around over the past few days but no one has really taken much notice, but apparently Leeds and Southampton have been speaking today. There are no indications as to how close a deal may be but after Saturday’s horrific showing, it seems Cellino has finally realised the current team is nowhere near good enough.
Can confirm that #lufc have held talks about the signing of Billy Sharp from Southampton today.
— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) August 12, 2014
— Wayne Gardiner (@mrwayneg) August 12, 2014
There aren’t any negatives if the signing of Sharp is confirmed in my opinion, as long as Byram isn’t involved in any deal. He’s a proven goalscorer at Championship level. Given the chance he will score goals, even in this side. If Bianchi lives up to the hype and Murphy is played in a more advanced role then it would look a promising attack. I believe Sharp would also work well playing off Matt Smith.
Promising times… Now we wait for the announcement that the deal is Cash + Sharp for Byram.
Leeds United are today set to sign Centre-Backs Liam Cooper from Chesterfield and Giuseppe Bellusci from Catania. Leeds previously went in for Cooper but decided the price was too high. The defeat to Millwall, witnessed by Cellino, may have made him realise that he needs to pay money for decent players.
Hearing that Leeds have agreed a fee with Chesterfield for Liam Cooper and he will sign subject to a medical.
— Graeme Bailey (@GraemeBailey) August 12, 2014
Bellusci’s agent confirmed that he was on a flight to England today –
— Silvio Pagliari (@silviopagliari) August 12, 2014
Centre-back was a position that we needed to improve in massively and this would do this, we could end up with one of the strongest defenses in the league, if Byram stays that is.
One thing that was evident from the horrific loss at Millwall was that we need some more signings, some more good signings. It would also help if they were proven in England. You have to pay more for quality, Massimo.
A main area of concern is Centre-back. Scott Wootton is 100% not good enough to play for Leeds United and at this moment in time there are no alternatives, that needs to change.
There are a few options at CB, some that Cellino especially will love, free options.
Sean St Ledger
St Ledger isn’t the best player in the world but we can hardly attract those sort of players at this moment in time. He’s a solid enough championship defender and definitely better than Wootton. St Ledger, of Leicester and more recently on-loan at Millwall, is a Republic of Ireland international and 29 years old. He should be at the peak of his career right now and could help Pearce become a better player. A problem for St Ledger is his lack of height, at only 5ft 11 he isn’t too tall for a CB. However I still think he should be considered a target.
Whilst our Massimo may be funny looking, he aint daft. Thank goodness he was at the Den today because his side are in need of a serious cash-injected boosting.
We’re not a million miles away, yet this fiercely competitive league demands every last inch and we came well up short against Millwall. A trip to South London to face Ollie’s boys was always going to be difficult, yet it served as a pertinent reminder of the wheeling and dealing that Messrs Salerno and Cellino still need to accomplish.
Wootton has to go. Whilst he may be relatively young, Wootton’s distinct lack of basic defending ability will cost us goals and games and we’re crying out for a more mobile and consistent partner for Pearce. And until that fine day dawns upon us? Play Ross Killock. He can’t be much worse.
I’m no Einstein, but the experiment of employing Noel Hunt as a footballer has been a monumental failure. He doesn’t turn up for Leeds, simple as that. How long should we wait for him to discover his past self and show us why our Brian loved him so? Not another minute. Whilst Dom Poleon has a lot to learn, we can’t expect much from him unless we play the poor guy. Until we sign that Leeds-shaped predatory goalscorer that we hope is roaming the Earth somewhere we could benefit from Dom’s sheer pace and audacity. Just please don’t play Hunt again Dave.
Hockaday may be the right man for Leeds, and then again he might not. Just please Massimo, keep plugging away for two polished centre halves, a trophy goalscorer, and a couple of frightening wingers ’cause I’m scared out ‘me wits that we might miraculously finish below Blackpool. Here’s to a 1 nil thrashing of Stanley.