Good Morning. It's Monday 1st June, and here are the latest headlines from Elland Road...
Championship set to restart 20th June
Following the Government announcement at the weekend to allow elite sporting events to return, the EFL have provisionally set a date of 20 June for the Championship to recommence. The window stretches until 30th July for the play off final. Although games will have to be played behind closed doors, as long as safety guidelines are met, clubs may stage matches at their home grounds. EFL Chair Rick Parry said...
With Sky Bet Championship Clubs set to return to full contact training later this week and following Saturday’s Government announcement, we are edging closer towards resuming the 2019/20 EFL season. We have therefore today consulted with the Board’s Championship Directors and agreed to fixtures restarting behind closed doors on 20 June.
Whilst matches will unfortunately have to take place without supporters, we are working with our broadcast partners, EFL Championship Clubs and all relevant stakeholders to broadcast the remaining 108 games plus Sky Bet Championship Play-Offs either live on Sky Sports, iFollow or a Club’s equivalent streaming service.
We must stress that at this stage the date is only provisional and will only be confirmed once we have met all the requirements, as the health, safety and well-being of all participants, staff and supporters remains our top priority.
Cearly completing the season in a safe manner is going to require a significant effort by all concerned and, whilst not unprecedented, it will need Clubs to play a significant number of matches over a relatively short period of time.
Fears of congregation may force authorities to switch games away from Elland Road
The Chief Sports reporter for the Times, Martyn Ziegler has revealed that football authorities are concerned about 12 “high risk” matches that might lead to fans congregating outside stadiums and have identified Elland Road as being one of the main issues. Leeds fans are one of the most passionate in the land, and follow the Whites religiously whatever their predicament.
With social-distancing guidelines in place, local safety advisory groups and police are most concerned about fans congregating outside Elland Road, Anfield and the Hawthorns) on match days, especially with so much on the line for all three clubs.
This may mean that Leeds may be forced to play some of their remaining home games well away from Elland Road including the last game of the season against Charlton which may be switched to a London ground to put distance between the fans and the game itself. Surely, with Elland Road Police Station just around the corner, Leeds Utd and WYP are best placed to deal with the matter?
Could Champions League winner be on his way to Elland Road?
Manchester City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo could be on his way to Elland Road this Summer according to Chilean media. The 37 year o joined the blue side of Manchester in 2016 in a deal worth 17m, however due to age, would be available at a cut price £1m. Bielsa has a long standing admiration for the Chilean International who has 123 caps to his name, as well as winning the Premier League, EFL Cup, La Liga, Copa del Rey and the Champions League. His current salary at the Etihad is £80,000 per week, and although that would not be beyond the realms of possibility if the Whites gain promotion to the top flight, it would certainly make a dent in their wage structure.
Where does this leave Meslier. The French U20 International is expected to join the Whites this Summer in a 5m deal. In the few appearances the youngster has made between the sticks, he has impressed but is he ready for the Premier League. If not, should be be splashing out 5m for a hopeful star for the future!
Wolves have already informed Leeds that 33 year old shot stopper John Ruddy will be available on a free transfer at the end of the season, as will Joe Hart from Burnley and more than likely Fraser Forster from the Saints. Although banned until the last game of the season against Charlton, the 33yo has returned to training at Elland Road, though it is expected that the 33yo will be playing his domestic football in his native Spain next season.