I’ll start by saying that Leeds United are a copy writer’s dream, in a way they guarantee a publication views. It is a simple relationship; publish the article, get the views.
The latest one out is an article, based on something written on the Ladbrokes website, saying that Leeds United are in the running to sign Barnsley’s Marley Watkins. When I say ‘in the running’, technically they are poking their heads in the market at odds of 9/1 and are seen as sixth favourites to capture the goal scoring winger’s signature, behind currently favoured side Cardiff who are showing odds of 2/1.
For those not in the know, or up to speed, here’s a little background detail. Watkins arrived at Barnsley at the opening of the 2015 summer transfer window on July 1 from Scottish side Inverness Caledonian Thistle on a free transfer. Before that he’d been let go by Swansea City and had made his way to Cheltenham, Bath City and Hereford United.
It is this season that he has come to prominence in South Yorkshire, scoring 10 times and racking up nine assists for the Tykes. Predominantly rated as a ‘right-wing’, Watkins has actually played 22 times up front for Barnsley this season, scoring six and assisting five goals. If you drop back a season, to Barnsley’s 2015/16 League One campaign, the London-born forward scored five and assisted nine goals in the league.
So, the consistency is there, as is a seeming ability to handle a jump up in class and division – his returns this season indicate both of those elements. But does that really all equate to Leeds United being the sixth favourites at 9/1 to bring him up the M1 to Elland Road?
The Whites currently have Hadi Sacko, on loan from Sporting Lisbon, as a regular down the right flank. When he doesn’t start then it has usually been Kemar Roofe who plies his trade there, and Roofe is a permanent deal – Leeds £3 million marquee buy for this campaign. Of course there is talk that Spaniard Pablo Hernández might not be kept on past his end-of-season deal, and that Roofe may slide over into a supporting no10 slot behind Chris Wood. This would open up a right-wing position that someone like Watkins could fill.
And I say ‘could‘ for the very simple fact that it is all supposition because, at the end of the day, Leeds are only installed as sixth favourites to capture Marley Watkins’ signature.
Now I have no doubt that Watkins is a good player, and definitely good enough to play at Leeds United, but will he – that is a whole different kettle of fish. I’m going call a big “NO!” on this one, citing journalistic opportunism in saying that Leeds United are in the running, especially when quoted at odds of 9/1.
Marley Watkins’ contract runs out this summer, there is bound to be a race of clubs charging towards Oakwell for his signature – I just don’t see Leeds United being one of them.