By Rob Atkinson
Some of the suggested targets of new United manager Brian McDermott will likely have Leeds fans sitting up and taking notice - as well as licking their lips in anticipation. It has been frustrating to see lesser clubs picking up gems in the market, while our own beloved Leeds have sat by and under-achieved. Now we understand that Brian is possibly of a mind to raid his old club Reading for Adam le Fondre, a man much linked with Elland Road when he was at Rotherham. From what I've seen of le Fondre this season he's done well at Premier League level in a team that has always struggled - surely the sign of a man who would prosper in our league, with his instinctive fox-in-the-box movement and awareness. And what's more, the talk is that, despite possible interest from middle-ranked top flight clubs, Adam would relish a move to Leeds and a reunion with the manager who gave him such a big chance in the big time.
Another striker often tipped to come to Leeds in the past is Billy Sharp, and this is one I've always thought would eventually eventually end up on the strength sooner or later. Sharp is currently on loan at Forest, but his parent club Southampton will probably see a big turnover in the summer, and Billy could be making a permanent move away somewhere. Why not to Elland Road? It will, of course, all depend on the finances.
A less obviously popular signing could be Ian Harte, of whom we might think we know much to put us off. Looking at Hartey's well-known plus points - he would certainly still present a threat around the opposition penalty area with that quality hammer of a left foot. It was often said though that - for a left back - he could be exposed by pace and that defending wasn't his strong point. I think though that, for a lot of Harte's time in his Elland Road career, he suffered from playing behind
Harry Kewell, a notoriously lazy git when it came to tracking back and one who, when the going got tough, would frequently limp off. This was particularly noticeable in his Liverpool days, and the less said about his subsequent career, the better.
So maybe Hartey could still do a job at Leeds, operating behind a more industrious wide-left player? I'd be inclined to back McDerrmott's judgement on that one, whatever it might be. Speaking of which, the question of who we keep is at least as important as that of who we sign. Please, Brian - let us hang onto Super Sam Byram.
There's going to be many more names thrown up by various media as possible signings between now and the start of next season than the three mentioned above. Who we'll end up with is anyone's guess and there remains the worrying possibility that it could be yet another big let-down. But Brian seems to want to import some quality, and you get the feeling he'll have made his wishes known where it counts. Let's hope so, and let's hope that the summer that's a-coming in proves to be rather more exciting and inspiring than some of the fallow transfer windows of recent years.