Leeds United morning headlines December 17.
League One promotion hero opens up on leaving Elland Road
In the footage of Jermaine Beckford’s winner against Bristol Rovers on the final day of the 2009/10 season, one player in particular stands out.
Having driven into the box with the ball, Bradley Johnson attempted to find Luciano Becchio at the back post but saw his cross cut out. However, the ball ricocheted to Beckford who finished to send Leeds up.
Johnson is hard to miss in the clip as he recognises what is about to happen and begins hopping on the spot with nervous energy before Beckford even struck the ball. As the ball hit the net, Johnson flung himself into the crowd.
The midfielder was a popular player at the club under Simon Grayson’s management, playing a role in the team that finished seventh in the Championship the season after and the 34-year-old has stated that he preferred to stay at Leeds, rather than running his contract down as he did, before moving to Norwich City.
“I was playing week in week out, I was coming to the end of my contract and they were buying players. It wasn’t about the money, it was about being on parity with everyone else. If you play every week, you want to be paid like you’re paying every week,” Johnson told the On the Judy podcast.
Johnson name checked Ken Bates as a reason why talks broke down, which Leeds fans who remember the 2010s won’t be surprised to hear.
“It was time to negotiate a new contract and I said ‘I want to earn what this guy’s earning or the same as what this kid’s earning’. Ken Bates was just like ‘nope, this is what we’re offering’, so I didn’t sign it.
Door open for return of loan players
In light of Leeds’s extraordinary injury crisis this season, Marcelo Bielsa has been asked whether he would consider recalls for some of Leeds’ senior professionals who are out on loan elsewhere.
Bielsa replied that if they felt the player had made a significant step forwards on their loan then it could be considered:
“Every player that’s on loan that can be recovered and that they’ve manifested in these six months that have gone past their competitive level is similar to that of the players we possess at the moment,” said Bielsa.
“If all of that came to be, we would try to recover that player, but for that to happen with players who have gone out on loan, it’s because I understood, and the club accompanied my idea, the players we kept were in better conditions than the ones we loaned out to resolve our needs.”
There are currently 10 players out on loan from the Whites, including Mateusz Bogusz, Helder Costa and Leif Davis.
Leeds can make in January to address squad issue
Marcelo Bielsa was once again asked about the January transfer window in yesterday’s press conference and responded to the assertion that he would choose to avoid making signings in January.
“I never said that I don’t want players to come in January,” said Bielsa.
“The only thing I said [is] and I reiterate: to bring in players they should be better than the ones we already have”.
An option that Leeds Live have suggested is a player coming to the end of his contract at Marseille in Boubacar Kamara.
The midfielder is in-demand throughout Europe and could move for free in the summer but a savvy club coming in with a cash bid in January could get a deal done.
As Joe Donnohue writes:
“A tempo-setting, both-footed, play-advancing No. 6 like Kamara is precisely the style of footballer Leeds could benefit from right now.
“Not only would it plug the hole left by Phillips’ absence due to injury, but serve as a viable succession plan if the 26-year-old England man is set to depart next summer.”