The dust is settling, the lads have jetted of to sunnier parts of the world for a well earned rest and Garry Monk still isn't tied down to at least a three year deal.
Some things change but others unfortunately don't, please Mr Radrizzani let's gets a signature off this man before somebody else does. Time is of the essence my friend!
After meeting a few of the lads and lasses that have served Radio Yorkshire so well, it got me thinking what makes a team that can guarantee you a top six place in the Championship. Here's an article rating what we have and what we need.
First you need a experienced back line, in Rob Green, Luke Ayling, Pontus Jansson (he'll sign!) and Gaetano Berardi you've got that much needed experience and the bonus that they've played together, well nearly for a full season.
Add another two centre backs (Kyle Bartley) and one other you've got a bloody good back line, plus Liam Cooper, who for some reason is out of favour with some fans but I believe him to be an able back up. Lewie Coyle and Tyler Denton are experienced youngsters to cover both right and left back.
Defensive rating B+ (with Bartley in it)
It's the midfield where I hope Mr Radrizzani invests MOST in, only O'Kane, Dallas, captain Liam Bridcutt and youngsters Kalvin Phillips, Ronaldo Vieira definitely remain. Pablo Hernandez at this point hasn't had the option taken up on extending his contract yet.
Eunan O'Kane was vastly underused and showed when he played late in the season what an asset he could be, given the opportunity. Remember, he's an established Republic of Ireland international so it's not that he's a poor player, more poorly used.
I've had countless conversations about Stuart Dallas as he also has enough international caps to fill a hat shop, but came back from the World Cup and his wedding half the player we'd seen previously. A fully fit, motivated Dallas would be in my opening eighteen come August time, whoever was signed.
Phillips and Vieira have 'come on', especially Ronaldo but do we really want two great potentials playing forty plus games?
Of the players that have left I can only see Hadi Sacko maybe returning in another season long loan, Pedraza maybe needs another season under his wings in Seria B to be considered again, unless another loan spell could be agreed.
Leeds need a player, like a Gordon Strachan who would make people think "Leeds mean business next year".
Bags of experience for definite and one that players can look up to, Jonny Howson anybody?
Midfield rating: D+
Definitely an area that needs improving if the club is serious about challenging for a top six place.
When you've a striker that has just banged in thirty goals clubs will be looking at him, but Chris Wood has stated previously that he's looking forward to another season with Leeds, it might be worthwhile, mind you to offer him a few more quid to keep the vultures away (Remember Snods, Beckford, Howson, Cook etc).
What we need with Wood is another option, somebody who would push the New Zealander to continue where he left off, these players don't come cheap but they are out there. Fletcher, Murphy at Newcastle, maybe even Rhodes at Wednesday, if they don't go up.
Although I have acknowledge the efforts of Kemar Roofe and Souleymane Doukara none of the above will guarantee you fifteen goals next term and that's what we need. Marcus Antonsson is a player we've not seen the best from, goals at Fleetwood and Sheffield were not enough to convince Garry Monk to keep him involved in the eighteen.
Attack rating: B- (Chris Wood mind you gets a A+) After midfield, key to our chances of improving on seventh this term.
So the squad needs an upgrade, but not as radical as most previous pre season's.
Quality investment in the key areas I've mentioned could be just enough to get Leeds to the promised land.
By Keith Ingham
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