Leeds United have today confirmed the signing of Ryan Hall on a two and a half-year deal, with Neil Warnock pointing to the potential of the winger as a future star as reason behind the signing. This either makes complete sense or none at all – Hall is already aged twenty-four, by which time most with ‘potential’ who are worth keeping are demonstrating their value. One saving grace for Hall is his performances for Southend last season, where he led League Two’s assist charts, something imperative for a team that should be built around providing crosses for Luciano Becchio. First team football needs to come soon at Elland Road for Hall, however, and it would not be ridiculous to suggest Hall and Thomas on opposite wings might be an interesting, if not defensively unsound, idea.
Who is to come in next? The signings of Alan Tate and Michael Tonge are all but confirmed, with neither of them needed at their actual clubs and Warnock seemingly a huge fan of both. I’m more reticent to back the signing of Tate than Tonge, as, where Tonge improved over the course of his loan spell, Tate has looked increasingly shaky in the past two games against Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest, especially failing to deal with Lukas Jutkiewicz. Both will likely be into Leeds soon enough.
Where Jerome Thomas is concerned, it seems slightly more tricky. Word from West Brom is that they are less keen to sell than Stoke and Swansea are, and it might actually take some money to sign a player who, at first, seemed the answer to all of Leeds’s woe. His fitness issues have cropped up recently, and he has seemed far less effective since his rip-roaring appearances against Crystal Palace and Leicester. If an alternative is available, it might be them we see on the left-wing after January.
Warnock has pointed to a need to sign a striker in January, but with Becchio, McCormack, Diouf and the returning Somma at his disposal, there have been questions as to how necessary this truly is. However, Leeds have been linked to several, not least Rickie Lambert by the derided and regularly incorrect Daily Mail. Unlikely and would be immensely surprising.
Max Gradel is a hope for most, but it is worth pointing out that his form in the second half of last season carried St. Ettiene to the Europa League, and he has also been linked to Liverpool ahead of January. He has still been playing regularly for the French side. Even if Gradel loves the club, would he be willing to return to such a relatively low level?
Follow Amitai Winehouse on Twitter (@awinehouse1).