Leeds are at a transitional stage

03 Nov 2021 09:00 am, by Ellandback1

Good Morning. It's Wednesday 3rd November, and here are the latest headlines from Elland Road...

It will be very difficult to stay up - Radrizzani

Speaking from the Web Summit in Lisbon, Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani has stated that it will be very difficult for the Whites to stay in the top flight next season, but should they manage it, significant improvements will be made with the eventual aim of becoming a top six club as well as renovations at Elland Road. The 47 year old also added that the club supports Bielsa 'unconditionally'.
Leeds United, like Eleven and many other businesses in my life, are always a challenge. All my life I've been seen as an underdog, people haven't given me credit every time I've started something. People tend to say 'It'll crash, it's football so it'll lose money'.

I invested about £100m in buying and rebuilding Leeds United in the Championship. Now the club is in the Premier League, we have a lot of international players. In the first team seven or eight but not only in the senior team. The value is now probably four times higher. “People think sometimes I'm crazy to do this investment but it is rational because with the right people and management it can be rational. Give time to flourish the project and we can achieve things.

Now we are partnering with the 49ers. This year it will be very difficult to stay in the Premier League but if we stay up this year we can do much more next year. Next, the top six over time and hopefully start to renovate the stadium and grow this club.

It is very important for the football family to stay united and connected and avoid a repeat of the Super League. It was surprising and also fantastic to see the reaction of the fans. We have to keep the value and meaning of promotion and relegation. Meritocracy is very important. This should never be challenged.

Leeds are at a transitional stage

Whilst the most expectant of Leeds fans wouldn't have dreamed of achieving a top ten finish during their first season back in the top flight; nobody would have foreseen their collapse in form, just months later. Their stuttering start to this campaign has been compounded by injuries to key players, yet the remaining players who were so reliable just six months look a shadow of their former selves. These are the same players who were awarded significantly improved contracts last term, earning in a week, what many of us earn a year.

According to Phil Hay, Leeds are now in a transitional stage.

The first 10 games of this season make it feel as if Leeds are moving between phases. Bielsa’s contract is up again next Summer and a difficult term would change the nature of conversations about what comes next. There is an expectation at Elland Road that the transfer of shares from Andrea Radrizzani to 49ers Enterprises will continue, potentially providing fresh funding.

"here are players who, irrespective of previous years, will have to play better than they presently are if they want to avoid hard decisions about them. This squad is not done but if the past couple of months are telling Leeds anything, it is that every model needs refreshing. When footballers peak as they have under Bielsa - some of them unexpectedly - it is natural for them to question if they can go higher again.

It would be natural for them to wonder if by finishing ninth last season, they hit their limit. Some of them know that pushing Leeds to the next level will not be their job. It is entirely possible that it will not be Bielsa’s job either. The baton will pass on, possibly sooner than they would like, and a human resources drive will be necessary. But they built this empire and, to go by the performances against Wolves and Norwich, they are fighting for it.

Where has it all gone wrong? Many football pundits are suggesting that the players are being overworked, and whilst able to sustain the elite levels of fitness over the last couple of years, its not sustainable in the long term! Do you agree?

Liam Cooper's every appearance feels like a round of Squid games

Leeds journalist Phil Hay has likened Skipper Liam Cooper with playing a round of squid games; the analogy being you scrape through by the skin of your teeth, only to face a tougher test, and probable eliminated in the next. This is his seventh season at Elland Road, and whilst he has come on leaps and bounds since his Championship days, he always has a mistake in him. According to Hay...

Liam Cooper's every appearance for Leeds feels like a job interview. Or if not a job interview, a round of Squid Games. One wobble, eliminated. And if you avoid wobbling this time, then the likelihood is that someone in the metaverse will try and take you out after the next game anyway. It was nice to hear Bielsa reference Cooper positively after Leeds’ recent draw with Wolves because, in the case of Cooper, he is like the boiler in your kitchen; only spoken about when it goes wrong and somewhat underappreciated".

A couple of years ago, I went to interview Cooper and as part of the conversation, I asked him about the nickname. League One Liam. You can never be sure about how a player will react to a question like that. They might resent the mention of it. They might pick a fight with their own supporters, which never ends well. Or as happened with Cooper, they might see some grains of truth in it. Cooper’s attitude was that in patches, he hadn’t performed well. In sustained patches, he had been at a bog-standard (and sometimes inept) Championship team. So fair enough. But Bielsa was good for him and Bielsa’s football leaned towards Cooper’s strengths. Look at the evidence since. His ability to process and rationalise the criticism explained to a point why he had been able to cope mentally with Bielsa’s regime.

View all Showing latest 5 comments of 25...

faaip wrote on 03 Nov 2021 05:27 pm

But we're not weak at CB, Struijk and maybe even Cresswell and definitely a fit Koch are all better players. So it's not the quality it's the selection of Cooper that's the issue. Using Cooper as a benchmark of squad quality doesn't really work

mentalcase wrote on 03 Nov 2021 05:19 pm

Ellandback1 wrote: Wed Nov 03, 2021 2:41 pm Someone just suggested to me that we'd get 8m for Cooper as things stand...

If we get £8 million for roberts I'll piggyback him, ne'er mind a taxi.

Lumiukko wrote on 03 Nov 2021 04:44 pm

Yes, seems Radz is bricking it a little but can only blame himself that we did not get the needed recruitment done this last summer. To what part MB played in that I guess we'll never know (like did MB himself say he did not want a talented CM or two)?

I foresee us doing some panic buying in January for a couple of midfielders unless we have a magic run of form over the next two months (hard to see happening). How/if these will fit into MBs system/plans is anyone's guess, and may cause unrest with MB himself forcing him out of the door if the club undermine him. Lots of question marks all round right now. The only cure will be more cowbell, ahem, wins.

Scoobychief wrote on 03 Nov 2021 04:20 pm

So radzs is praying and hoping this that a miracle can happen and we survive the drop... And THEN he says he will throw a load of money at rebuilding not just the squad but Elland Road. what money is he actually going to use for this if we do survive?? must be from the sale of phillips, meslier and raph. in that case we would need 11 new players. IT SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED THIS SUMMER THE RECRUITMENT.

VinnysTattoo wrote on 03 Nov 2021 03:58 pm

“Transition period “ = “ we are struggling “

Cooper represents where we are at present. That is, a squad of mainly Championship players that have pushed their skill levels to scarcely believable levels. Unfortunately unless they are at 100%, that level is not enough for the Premiership.

Radz and Co thought they could continue in the same vein and I suspect they thought survival was a given. After two seasons investors would be more interested. If the worst happens and the trap door opens the club will have made one of the worst judgment calls for years.