Tim Steere writes his weekly article for Vital Leeds United and this week he looks at the goings on inside Elland Road with manager Neil Warnock`s much anticipated retained and released list.
At last the season is over and Neil Warnock has started the mass cull at Elland Road.
The anticipation surrounding the ‘retained` list has been building even before Warnock announced there was going to be one. Deep down, I think most Leeds fans knew Warnock was going to make widespread changes anyway.
Slowly but surely during the day, rumours spread on who would go. After one particular comment by the dear leader on Yorkshire Radio, I instantly knew who was out of the door. I don`t know why, but I just did.
Bates said that one players agent asked for £15K a week and that he wasn`t going to get it. Why that instantly made me think of Clayton I`m not sure, but once the list came out and saw he was on the transfer list; then alarm bells rang.
Looking at the list realistically, no one else on it would be asking for £15,000 a week or even come close to deserving it.
I`m not saying that Clayton does deserve it, but considering he`s played 46 times this season and has generally impressed, it would make a bit more sense that it was him.
As always we`ll never know for sure, his agent says they never asked for that Warnock said what they wanted was too high and wouldn`t be given. Usual blah blah blah?
Clayton even tweeted he didn`t ask that, but to be honest I give up caring on it. Outside the club, we never know what is going on and never will, so why get stressed about it.
Warnock said he may even stay if no-one comes in for him or if no acceptable offer is forthcoming, but I can`t see that happening somehow. Clayton`s agent in the YEP said the phone hasn`t stopped ringing, but again what is true?
The ‘drama` continued when Danny Webber tweeted he was going along with Alex Bruce, no great surprises to be honest, although I do feel Bruce has done well when he has played.
Connolly, O`Brien, Rachubka, Paynter and Nunez have also been transfer listed, not a moment too soon many would say. And despite my admiration of Paynter, I can understand his departure, it may just be what he needs, plus Davide Somma looks set to return in pre-season and if he can refind the form he showed before his injury, he will be a major threat.
Along with Sam, Bruce, Forssell, Webber and Maik Taylor all leaving, I think Warnock has been ruthless but it`s been needed. It shows the size of the squad and the lack of strength in depth we have.
Not one of the names transfer listed (apart from Clayton) or released really makes you think, he`s a top player who can help us get out of this division. And if a manager who has seven promotions to his name doesn`t think so either, then in Warnock I most definitely trust.
This is almost like a cleansing of the squad, some of these players are hanging on to the club and it has the look of Grayson`s era. With the greatest respect to the man, it`s time for a fresh start, a fresh squad and some fresh optimism. With so many changes planned, and crucially with Warnock at the helm, there is more scope for optimism at building a squad, Grayson never inspired that in people.
Obviously, Warnock will have to speculate to accumulate, so hopefully people will come in for the transfer-listed players and bid good money and take their wages off our hands, the likes of O`Brien and even Connolly will be on decent wages.
As for those offered new contracts; Snodgrass, White, McCormack and Lees, all fair enough. But I`m also pleased that Zac Thompson is getting a new deal.
After seeing his debut against Burnley where he effortlessly played at both right back and centre midfield at just 18 years old, it is clear he has a talent.
Unfortunately youthful exuberance got the better of him against Reading, and lack of experience meant he was caught out by Henry against Arsenal, but overall he fully deserves a new deal.
Michael Brown offered a reduced deal is also interesting, obviously signed on far too much money when he joined under desperation by Grayson (to then not play him) is a good move if Brown accepts. He`s showed glimpses under Warnock and may be worth keeping with his experience but only on reduced terms.
While at last the inevitable signing of Jason Pearce was completed on Friday for an undisclosed fee, but widely thought to be £500,000. A good sum spent, a tall dominating centre back who won numerous player of the year awards at Portsmouth. A signing Warnock admits he lost sleep over in the hope he could secure the transfer. A solid start. Long may it continue!
Oh I forgot about the Leicester game?we lost 2-1. 11th home defeat of the season, a new club record. Pretty much a summation of our season in one sentence. We finished somewhere in the table, no idea where. I lost track of that 5 weeks ago. If it ain`t top 6 or bottom three, I don`t care really. It`s all pretty irrelevant. I`m not going to get excited about finishing 12th instead of 13th.
Marching on Together, on and on to a busy summer period!
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