Following two successive seasons of play-off heartache, Leeds United finally ended their stay in the third tier of English football, clinching promotion to the Championship as runners-up to Norwich City. Since Premier League relegation in 2004, the Elland Road side have endured a horrific fall from grace, but appear to have stabilised under the stewardship of Simon Grayson. Grayson, who recently signed a new deal with club, has spoken of his desire to “fulfil everyone’s dream of winning promotion back to the Premier League.”
Although Grayson has expressed intent to add to his squad this summers, funds are thought to be limited at the club, with the former Leicester City man admitting: “There`s a little bit to spend but there are not major funds available.” Should Grayson look to make use of the loan system this summer?
Like many other lower league teams, Leeds United have made heavy use of the loan transfer system over the past few seasons. Last season alone saw 12 players join the Elland Road on a temporary basis.
Despite being banished to the second and third tiers of English football, Leeds United remain one of the biggest and best-supported clubs in the country; statistics for the 2008/09 season reveal that the club’s average attendance for that season was 23,813, the highest figure for any third tier team in Europe. Due to this status and reputation, the club is likely to have greater pulling power than many of their Championship counterparts, meaning that they may be more likely to attract players from the top end of the loan market.
With many Premier League squads featuring large quantities of unused youth talent, bigger clubs may see Leeds United as the perfect place to allow their best prospects to develop. The club managed to utilise the services of Liverpool’s David Martin and Arsenal’s Sanchez Watt last season, and should seek to secure the loan signings of players of a similar calibre. For example, Manchester United’s recent move for Mexico international Javier Hernandez may mean that first-team opportunities for the likes of Danny Welbeck and Federico Macheda become scarce. Similarly, Arsene Wenger may see Elland Road as the ideal destination for some of his talented youngsters.
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