By Rob Atkinson
Rumours are circulating - based, it must be said on an inconclusive exchange of tweets between Ross McCormack and his erstwhile Argentinean strike colleague - that this summer's transfer window might see a return to Elland Road of prodigal son Luciano Becchio. That would well and truly buck the recent trend whereby top-performing players have been queuing up for the express service from Leeds to Norwich, without passing Go, and collecting
considerably more than £200. But Norwich's monopoly of incoming transfer activity has not been total; we did manage to lever Steve Morison out of them as small change in the Becchio deal. Hmmmm, that went well, didn't it. So could things be about to get better and leave us feeling a bit less humiliated regarding this smaller but cheeky club Norwich City?
If that did prove to be the case, and we were to make a start - in a small way at first - on plundering Carrow Road, would we really want to recapture our admittedly prolific (for us, anyway) Argie? The fact is, he hasn't been pulling up any trees for the Canaries, although his opportunities have been limited there. Maybe he'd have gained some experience and aptitude in the short playing time he's had in the Premier League, and perhaps that would lead to a sharper and more lethal Luci' at Championship level? But perhaps not, too. Maybe - on the other hand - his confidence would be shot, and we'd have bought ourselves another pup. It's something that Brian McD would have to scratch his bald pate over, and think very carefully about.
My own opinion, for what it's worth, is that - if Norwich are suddenly willing to start doing business with us instead of just breezing into Thorp Arch and nicking off with whoever they fancy from our playing staff, then we should shop at the luxury end of the market. We should look at someone who would make a real difference, someone who we've sorely missed and never replaced. We should tug our forelocks beseechingly and ask them if, pretty please, we could have Rob Snodgrass back?
Our case would be strengthened of course if Norwich would just do the decent thing and get relegated. Sadly, that appears unlikely as things stand, but it would certainly give Mr Snodgrass ample cause to consider whether his move to East Anglia was quite such a good idea as it seemed at the time. Perhaps he would feel the pangs of homesickness gnawing away at him. Perhaps he would realise that he's never had quite the same buzz playing in front of the honest bumpkins of
Norwich - admirable chaps of course, but not your genuine football fanatics as found in the environs of LS11. Maybe Rob would decide he was ready to return to Leeds United.
There is also, of course, the oft-rumoured "buy-back clause", although I've never seen much confirmation of this, nor yet any explanation of how it might work in practice. It strikes me that transfers are conducted almost entirely on what all parties want at the particular time they're happening, rather than being dictated by some aging piece of paper tucked away in a safe somewhere. Rob Snodgrass would have to want to come back, regardless of contractual clauses, otherwise all bets would be off. But just maybe he would fancy it, above another season of relegation struggle at Carrow Road, for instance. It's enticingly tempting to think perhaps he would. After all, plenty has changed down at Elland Road.
It would more than likely all come down to money, of which wages would be a major factor. Snoddy is one of Norwich City's stand-out performers this season - much more so than Becchio, Johnson, even Howson. TV commentators have purred over him, as if to emphasise to us poor Leeds fans that here was a luxury commodity we could only dream of ever seeing in the famous white-with-fat-blue-stripes shirt again. But if you don't ask, you don't get.
If Leeds United do happen to be in the market for an ex-Leeds and current Norwich player - then I hope today's rumour about Becchio is merely a smokescreen, cunningly raised to disguise the real business that's proposed. I'd certainly welcome Snoddy back to Elland Road with open arms. To be honest, I'm not that bothered about any of our other former favourites - maybe Howson at a push. Oh, and Beckford from Leicester might be nice. But Snods is the jewel in the crown of thorns that is our recently-lost trail of prize assets. If we're to regain just one ex-hero, please let it be him.