Season-by-season teams look to redevelop and hone their playing squads, cutting some and bringing in others.
Changes to a squad are either born of necessity or a change of focus and intent. There can be litle doubt that Leeds United, likely to again finish in a mid-table position, will be making changes to the squad based on those two premises.
With Leeds likely to make changes, there has to be consideration of who’s going out as well as who will be coming in; after all, change is a two-way street.
Outs at Elland Road: necessity or change of focus
1. Ross Turnbull
A solid, dependable back up keeper is needed at any clubs and that is what ex-Chelsea stopper Turnbull is. He came to Leeds United as a back-up to current incumbent keeper Marco Silvestri, a bench warmer to step in should the need arise.
Signing a two-year contract that will take him through to July 2017, Bishop Auckland-born Turnbull would have been Leeds’ #2 this season. However, a broken ankle in a behind-doors friendly fixture brought the curtain down on his 2015/16 season, with Turnbull having made only one senior performance for Leeds United.
Whilst Turnbull’s departure is not signed, sealed and delivered entity, there are reasons why Leeds might look to move him on. Marco Silvestri’s position as #1 seems consolidated and youngster Bailey Peacock-Farrell is coming increasingly into first team reckoning. Steve Evans has already said that he will look to ‘blood’ Peacock-Farrell before the end of the season.
That situation, Leeds placing their faith in a highly-regarded youngster as a #2 keeper, would further drive Turnbull down the roster. To be fair, he’s too good a keeper to be seen as a #3 and Leeds may see it fairer to allow him to pursue chances of first team football elsewhere.
2. Casper Sloth
In fairness, Leeds United have destroyed Casper Sloth and his football reputation; well Uwe Rosler and Steve Evans’ refusal to play him has. Sloth arrived at Elland Road in August 2014 from Danish side AGF Aarhus as a full Denmark international with eight caps behind him.
A fee of around £600,000 captured the young midfielder with a reputation as a bit of a box-to-box, ball-playing midfielder. Those heady days of autumn 2014 are long-gone and the young Dane sits languishing in Leeds United’s Development/Under-21 team.
His performances for the Development Squad have come in for some praise from observers including current Under-21 boss Paul Hart, but praise isn’t football and that’s what Casper Sloth needs. You can tell a man he’s doing a good job, but unless you give him a wage he will remain a poor man.
Casper Sloth’s ‘wage’, as such, is his place in the first team but it is a remuneration that Leeds United don’t look like making – he’s not appeared in the first team this season. No man works for nothing, with a year left on his contract both Leeds and Sloth may feel the best option is for the young midfielder to move on from the club.
3. Mirco Antenucci
The Italian’s contract is up at the end of the season and, as of yet, there has been no concrete offer to extend Antenucci’s contract into another year beyond this. A burst in scoring of late, with four goals in three games, saw fans clamouring for the club to resign the popular striker, but so far these calls have been resisted.
In all honesty, Mirco’s future likely lies away from these shores and back in his native Italy. During the January transfer window, there was interest for his services from a number of Italian Serie B sides and this is intensified by his wife’s alleged homesickness for a return to Italian soil with their young family.
Whilst another year at Leeds United would possibly be the last big contract he would sign, a number of things may conspire against a new contract offer from the club. Interest from Italy, combined with a homesick wife may be enough to tempt the popular Italian marksman to try his hand at home. This could very well go hand-in-glove with Leeds looking to explore new striking avenues.