The released and retained

16 May 2014 11:39pm, by YorkshireSquare

After weeks of speculation last night the Leeds United released and retained list was finally announced. With Brian McDermott absent from Elland Road this week the list was put together by Massimo Cellino and ‘consultant’ Benito Carbone with guidance on the academy players from Neil Redfearn. Those players whose contracts were due to expire this summer were Jamie Ashdown, Alex Cairns, Danny Pugh, Adam Drury, Michael Brown, El-Hadji Diouf, Paul Green, Gboly Ariyibi and Luke Varney. Of these players all have been released with the exception of Alex Cairns who has had his contract extended. Yesterday’s cuts are believed to have cut around £3m from Leeds’ £18m a year wage bill.

In a sign that youth may play a big part in the future shape of the Leeds United along with 21 year old goalkeeper Alex Cairns another player to have his contract extended was 18 year old trainee defender Afolabi Coker. 20 year old left back Charlie Taylor, who has impressed on loan at Fleetwood Town this season, has been offered a new contract as has 19 year old centre back Ross Killock. Benito Carbone who has been brought in initially to oversee the academy commented;

“It’s fantastic! My God, we have seven or eight players in the Under-21s who are very good players. Leeds players can do more on the pitch than other players in the world because they feel it in their heart. They come from Leeds and they love Leeds. Our idea is to keep the players from the academy and get six or seven into the first team. Our objective is that in two, three or four years’ time, the line-up when we start a game has six, seven or eight players from the young Leeds. Like before, when the club were in the Champions League.

Not all of the youngsters fared so well though and along with Ariyibi the likes of Simon Lenighan, Nathan and Lewis Turner, Richard Bryan and Smith Tiesse will be leaving the club. Ariyibi, described by Brian McDermott as “exciting, very, very quick” was only signed in December and made just two substitute appearances for the club. Twins Nathan and Lewis Turner have both been on loan at Chester FC racking up 61 appearances between them and will leave Leeds after 14 years at the club.

Lenighan was a promising young player though his off the field issues, the alleged rape of a young woman, probably caused the end of his Leeds United career and possibly his football career. Australian Smith Tiesse only signed professional terms with the club last July but along with former Aston Villa youngster Richard Bryan will not see in the new season with Leeds United.

Loanee Jimmy Kebe retuned to Crystal Palace earlier this month after a lacklustre 4 month loan spell at the Leeds. Nothing has been announced yet regarding the players who are still in contract but may be surplus to requirements. Paddy Kenny, Aidan White, Stephen Warnock, Lee Peltier, Zac Thompson, Marius Zaliukas, Rodolph Austin, Michael Tonge, David Norris, Noel Hunt, Matt Smith and Dom Poleon’s contracts are all due to expire next season and Tom Lees, Jason Pearce, Scott Wootton, Steve Morrison, Sam Byram, Luke Murphy and Chris Dawson in 2016. There will be many players on that list who Cellino does not believe have a future in Leeds and I’m sure further names will depart before the start of the season.

There are players who can make the basis of a new squad McCormack, Pearce, Murphy and Smith spring to mind with promising youngsters Mowatt, Poleon, Byram, Thompson and Dawson but there is still a lot of deadwood still to get rid of and some good signings will have to be made this summer. We’ve been saying for a few summers now that we need to rebuild but with Cellinos ruthlessness this summer may be the time we actually do it.