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01 Sep 2014 10:17pm, by Shields53

When the last transfer window shut back in January it was all about Leeds United on deadline day. Ross McCormack was the go to guy for Jim White on Sky Sports firstly pledging his future to the club after a bid had been rejected from Cardiff and then leaping to the defence of manager Brian McDermott after it had been revealed Cellino had sacked him (or not). This window started where we left off with a continuation of the McCormack saga as he departed for Fulham. This time though, we got a decent price for one of our players.

Cellino started his rebuilding of the squad steadily with court cases and transfer embargos spoiling his plans but once that was all out of the way he went on a spending spree, especially in the first couple of weeks of the new season. Ahead of the Bolton game twelve players had been brought in. Ten on permanent deals; Taylor, Silvestri, Bianchi, Berardi, Ajose, Sharp, Cooper, Antenucci, Bellusci and Sloth and two on season long loans; Doukara and Benedicic. But he was not done yet and signings continued right up to deadline day.

First up was Brazillian starlet Adryan Oliveira Tavares, who all Leeds fans will now tell you turned down Manchester United two years ago. Twenty year old Adryan, dubbed the new Kaka, is an attacking midfielder who has represented Brazil at youth level. He signs on a season long loan from Flamengo, or Cagliari, depending on who you think owns his registration which is one of the reasons the transfer took so long to complete. He is the classic ‘YouTube’ player with clips of outstanding skills and free kicks all over the internet. He has only featured 37 times for Flamengo in Brasileiro Serie A and was limited to 5 appearances, due to injury, for Cagliari in Serie A last season. He undoubtedly has talent but if he can translate this to English football is to be seen.

On the eve of deadline day yet another young player sign from Cagliari. 19 year old defender Dario Del Fabro joined on a season long loan with an option to make the move permanent. The centre back has only played 8 games for Cagliari’s first team but has played 36 times for Cagliari Primavera. He has represented Italy 20 times at various youth levels from under 16 to under 19 and is definitely one for the future. He provides extra depth in defence following the signings of Bellusci and Cooper.

On deadline day itself Brian Montenegro was the fifteenth new name of the summer, signing on a season long loan deal on deadline day. The Paraguayan winger/forward signs from Club Nacional Asunción where he spent the final stages of last season coming a runner up in the 2014 Copa Libertadores. The 21 year old has previously played for Tacuray and Libertad and even spent a season on loan at West Ham playing only once in an FA Cup game versus Sheffield Wednesday. He has represented Paraguay at under 20 level three times.

Striker Souleymane Doukara made his loan deal permanent on deadline day signing a three year contract. There were a couple of last minute departures as well with Matt Smith heading to Fulham for a fee believed to be around £500k on a 3 year contract and Dominic Poleon to Oldham Athletic for an undisclosed fee on a 2 year deal.

With fifteen players signed this summer it has been a seriously busy transfer window for Leeds United. For once we don’t have to console ourselves with the fact that the emergency loan window opens in a weeks time. The squad will take time to gel, especially with last minute arrivals but there have been signs of promise and combined with the young players coming through the academy we really have something to build on.

01 Sep 2014 07:10pm, by Shields53

Leeds United 1 (Warnock 17)
Bolton Wanderers 0

Leeds faced Bolton for the first game of the post Hockaday era and came away with a much needed win. People might say that Saturdays performance was just the result of the gradual improvement we have seen over the past few games. Had we managed to keep eleven men on the pitch against Watford and Bradford then we may have another three points in the bag and be through to the next round of the League Cup and Hockaday may have kept his job. Whatever the reason for the ill-discipline in previous matches it’s ultimately the results that count and Hockaday paid the price for not winning games.

For me though it was the three changes that caretaker manager Neil Redfearn made to the side and three changes which I believe are an important part of the vision for taking Leeds forward. Firstly the young Dane Casper Sloth came into the team complimented by the two academy graduates Lewis Cook and Alex Mowatt. This mix of Cellinos new young foreign signings and the home grown talent is the way forward. The passing game that has tried to be instilled into the players works so much better when we have creative midfielder who look to get the ball forward.

The goal may have been a bit lucky, Warnock himself admitted it was a pass and we hung on in the second half but we showed some resolve to take the points. Bellusci looks a captain in the making, organising and leading the defence and Marco Silvestri put in a match winning performance pulling off save after save to keep Leeds in the game. Throwing Cook in may have seemed like a gamble but it wasn’t to Redfearn because he knows the young players so well, and that’s what makes him so important to the club.

People may suggest Redders for the head coaches job but he is doing a brilliant job where he is. He has been one of the consistent over the past few years and that is important when developing an academy system and bringing players though. He has a philosophy and a plan and that is paying dividends in bringing players to the first team and they will be vital in rebuilding this club. If he were to get the head coach job he would be judged on results alone and with Cellino in chance may not last long. He is too important where he is to risk being given the main job.

Here are 1964white’s views on the Bolton game;

Just what the doctor ordered, a mix of our new signings & academy kids with only Warnock, Pearce & Wootton from last seasons squad. We played some lovely football particularly in the first half with a young midfield consisting of Cook, Mowatt, Bianchi & Sloth all impressing. Cook is a real star in the making. Mowatt looks leaner & fitter. Bianchi is a clever player playing in a more central role today. Sloth also had a fine debut. A midfield that had energy & movement which is so pleasing to see.

We've also found a leader in Bellusci who looked very assured & composed, finding time to dish out orders to the players around him. I take it he has a grasp of the English language as he made himself known to Wootton, Cook & Mowatt as he organised their defensive roles.
Antenucci & Sharp worked tirelessly from the front. Our real star today though was our keeper Marco Silvestri who kept us in the game with a string of fine saves especially in the second half when it was a game of backs to the wall for the lads in white, defending with a lot of determination & a desire to hold to a clean sheet. A game we'd have probably lost under similar pressure last season.

Three points & I'm a happy man. The future is bright folks contrary to what the pessimists think!

Leeds United Line-up:
Silvestri, Wootton, Pearce, Bellusci, Warnock (C Taylor 55), Cook, Mowatt, Bianchi, Sloth (Benedicic 78), Sharp, Antenucci
Unused Subs: S Taylor, Cooper, Dawson, Tonge, Smith

Bolton Line-up:
Bogdan, Mills, Ream, Spearing, Mason, Danns, Chung-Yong, Davies (Beckford 78), Wheater (Dervite 7), White, Medo (Feeney 82)
Unused Subs: Lonergan, Hall, Pratley, Hughes

Attendance: 21,901

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