Good Morning. It's Monday 11th October, and here are the latest headlines from Elland Road...
'Gear up for a major midfield addition'
Leeds Utd journalist Phil Hay believes Leeds are gearing up for a major new addition in midfield, but will have to wait until next Summer to make it happen! Whilst he agrees that Leeds are light in midfield, they will only turn to the January transfer window if they are struggling near the bottom of the top flight, come the new year!
I’m not convinced the club will do much in January unless the league position is causing acute concern. Victor Orta has long seen the mid-season window as offering poor value for money and the club are less and less convinced that January arrivals work for Marcelo Bielsa. From my perspective, if the season is in hand at the turn of the year, then I’d hold off and gear up for a major midfield addition when the season ends. I think we can all see that it has to be done.
Long wait for redevelopment plans at ER
Any hope of pressing on with plans to redevelop Elland Road into a 55,000 all-seater stadium have been benched until the end of the season, only partly due to relevant planning permission being approved. This will be frustrating for over 20,000 fans, on the waiting list for a season ticket! The news was delivered by Phil Hay, who replied to a fan saying it was 'most likely' that Leeds would wait until top flight football was secured for another season before pressing ahead with the clubs ambitious plan! Hay went on to say...
Planning and so on is still at a very early stage. There’s a definite commitment to expanding to 55,000-plus by redeveloping the north, west and south stands but it’s a major project and it won’t happen in a flash. The last time Angus Kinnear spoke about it, he indicated that the process would begin in earnest at the end of this season — not the actual building work but the process itself.
Realistically, expansion has to be done. The waiting list for season tickets is massive (more than 20,000) and Leeds think that with a stadium twice the size, they can bump their annual revenue over £250 million. They’re doing very well on one commercial front this season — shirt sales will be not far off 300,000. Peter Lowy (who joined the Leeds board in June) was in the directors’ box for the West Ham game and is very much involved, particularly on the stadium redevelopment side.
Opportunity for Shackleton following Ayling surgery
Luke Ayling has undergone knee surgery, and is expected to be sidelined for six weeks. The 30yo was injured during the latter stages of the 1-1 draw at St James Park just over three weeks ago. On a brighter note, it will give Jamie Shackleton a sustained run in the team, and an opportunity to shine. Unfortunately, the likes of Cresswell, Gelhardt and Summerville will have to make do with bit parts this season as Phil Hay explains:-
I asked this question about Charlie Cresswell last week, with Llorente and Pascal Struijk returning from injury and suspension. Bielsa said that ideally, he’d prefer to put the pressure on the more experienced players (which is why Llorente started against Watford despite Cresswell playing well in the two previous matches).
For players like Joe Gelhardt, Crysencio Summerville, etc it will probably be bit-part roles. But looking at Jamie Shackleton in the past two games, perhaps the door might open for him at right-back now, especially with Luke Ayling undergoing surgery on his knee. In terms of who is developing well, Lewis Bate is really catching the eye. As Bielsa said, he can thread a needle with his passing.