Shrewd deals by Leeds lay a firm foundation

After winning promotion to the Championship last season Leeds have already been busy recruiting four new players on free transfers, but will it be enough for the upcoming season?

The players Leeds have signed are goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, defenders Federico Bessone and Paul Connolly and striker Billy Paynter. Schmeichel comes after winning promotion from League 2 with Notts County; he was named in the PFA League 2 Team Of The Year and was one of the key reasons County gained promotion. He looked able to hold his own in the Premiership when he was given his debut by Manchester City three years ago aged just 20, but he never got a fair chance at City as goalkeepers Shay Given and Joe Hart overtook him in the pecking order. Schmeichel could turn out to be a good goalkeeper and Leeds have done very well to sign him.

As for the defenders both Bessone and Connolly are experienced Championship defenders, Connolly more so having spent most of his career there. The right back joins from Derby where he has been a solid performer and even had as spell as their team captain. Bessone is an Argentine left back who spent there last two years with a successful spell at Swansea where the club were unlucky to miss out on the play-offs twice. Leeds have had a few problems at left-back with Ben Parker suffering injuries and midfielder Andy Hughes having to deputise there in his absence, so the signing of Bessone was very much needed.

Upfront they have recruited Billy Paynter as the man to replace last season’s top scorer Jermaine Beckford who has left the club for Everton. Paynter scored 29 goals for Swindon last season who reached the play-off final with the help from his goals. However last season has been his most and only prolific season and with him also going up a division it will be interesting to see whether or not he can cope with the weight of expectation.

All the signings have been shrewd and as it stands you feel that Leeds will be good enough to stay in the division and perhaps more. They also have a few players that were too good for League 1 last season like Patrick Kisnorbo, Johnny Howson, Robert Snodgrass and Max Gradel. If they can add a few more players in particular another striker and make one or two clever loan signings then they could be capable of making a push for the play-offs. One player in particular they might want to look at signing is Gary Hooper, the Scunthorpe striker has scored 50 goals in the last two seasons and at just 22-years-old could be one for the future. Bringing in another striker will also take the pressure off Billy Paynter and at the same time give them more options in attack.

No doubt manager Simon Grayson will be looking to add more recruits to his squad so depending on just who he gets in it could have a big say on their season. It’s hard to tell at the moment where Leeds will be challenging next season but the fans can rest assured that the team they have is at least good enough to stay up.

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