Leeds United fans will undoubtedly be feeling somewhat deflated after the lack of action at Elland Road during the January transfer window.
Despite the arrivals of Toumani Diagouraga and Mustapha Carayol, as well as an extension of Liam Bridcutt’s loan from Sunderland, Leeds are still in need of reinforcements both up-front and at the back.
The emergency loan window opens for the final time ever next Tuesday. Here are some of the players Steve Evans should be casting a hopeful eye over as he looks to strengthen his squad.
Kyle Lafferty, Norwich City, striker
The Norwich City striker is desperate to escape his misery after falling out of favour at Carrow Road, and the Canaries are said to be leaving the door open for Lafferty to leave on loan if a club comes in for him. If the 28-year-old is to stake his claim as Northern Ireland’s first choice striker for Euro 2016, he needs to be playing regular first-team football, something which isn’t an option at his current club. Lafferty scored seven times in nine games during Northern Ireland’s qualifying campaign, something which is sure to catch Evans’ eye as he looks to bolster the United attack.
Jack Grealish, Aston Villa, midfielder
The youngster is struggling to cement his place in the Aston Villa first-team, and despite Remi Garde insisting he has no plans to send Grealish out on loan, he is sure to be on the radar at Elland Road. The 20-year-old catapulted into the Premier League spotlight last season with a string of impressive performances under Tim Sherwood, but his long-term future in the Midlands is unclear after slipping down the pecking order under new coach Garde. A move to the Championship would help Grealish develop his game no end, with Evans providing the guidance the young midfielder needs as he continues to adapt to life in the limelight, and Whites’ fans would inevitably welcome his addition to the United midfield alongside fellow young guns Alex Mowatt and Lewis Cook. Leeds made an enquiry over his availability just before November’s loan deadline, which suggests he might be a player they go back in for.
Peter Odemwingie, Stoke City, striker
Stoke City rejected an approach from Marseille to take their number nine to France on loan, despite Odemwingie’s best attempts to force the deal through after making just seven appearances this season. The 34-year-old has struggled to make his mark in Mark Hughes’ team after the summer arrivals of Xherdan Shaqiri and Ibrahim Afellay, and with just six months left on his contract at the Britannia, the Nigerian international will be keen to navigate a move away from the Staffordshire club. Odemwingie’s experience could be useful as Leeds look to push up the table, and with first-team football on offer, an approach from the Whites could prove too difficult to turn down.
Fraizer Campbell, Crystal Palace, striker
Leeds reportedly turned their interest to the pacy Crystal Palace man having had their bid for Barnsley forward Sam Winnell snubbed by the Tykes in the closing days of the transfer window. While it is claimed the London club have already rejected an initial approach from Leeds, Steve Evans remains interested in the 28-year old who could be swayed by the promise of first-team action. Born and bred in Huddersfield, Campbell could favour a move to Yorkshire after slipping to the substitute bench at Selhurst Park. The arrival of Emmanuel Adebayor blocks his path to the Palace first team, but with Hull City lurking in the background ready to pounce on their former loanee, Leeds must make their move if they want to secure the ex-Manchester United man.
James Chester, West Brom, centre-back
The Wales defender only moved to West Brom last summer but has struggled for first-team action with just three appearances this season. Reports suggested Swansea City were keen to take the 27-year-old on loan before the transfer window closed - a move which failed to materialise - but with the European Championships rapidly approaching, Chester is in dire need of first team football if he wants to secure his place in the Welsh back four. Whether the former Hull man wants to drop down to the Championship remains to be seen, but with the promise of football week in, week out, Elland Road could be an ideal destination for Chester to get his career back on track.
Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Arsenal, winger
Reine-Adelaide burst onto the scene in the summer at Arsenal’s annual Emirates Cup. He was an unknown then and remains a relative unknown now. However, his quality was undoubtable, comfortably the best winger on a pitch that also contained Kevin De Bruyne. He shimmied, he danced, he dribbled, he created chances and by the end of the game Twitter was ablaze with discussion of this mystery tyro. This would be one of the more adventurous signings Leeds could make in the emergency loan window. The 18-year-old would be a decent option to have, and would be a loan signing that could reasonably be extended in the summer if Leeds look to build a squad capable of achieving promotion.
Joey O’Brien, West Ham, full-back
The former Bolton defender has struggled to find a place in Slaven Bilic’s West Ham revolution, especially after being struck by injury early in the season. Unfortunately for O’Brien, his return could not have come at a much worse time - the Hammers have just brought in Sam Byram from Leeds, and an impressive debut for the 22-year-old will likely see him feature in the first-team between now and the end of the season. That leaves O’Brien in a bit of a lurch, especially as he looks for match fitness. He’s an experienced head at the back in a position where Leeds do not have much cover. O’Brien’s contract expires at the end of the season, which would essentially allow for a six month trial ahead of a free transfer switch.
Ciaran Clark, Aston Villa, defender
Clark made his Aston Villa debut in 2009 and has gone on to make 126 appearances for the Midlands side. He has struggled for games this season, playing only eight times in the Premier League, which suggests even amid their struggles Villa would be willing to let him go out on loan. Clark captained the England Under-19 side before switching his allegiance to Ireland in September 2010, which suggests there is something of a player there. It might be the case that the academy graduate has to leave Villa to rejuvenate his career, and with doubts over all of Leeds’s central defenders, he could carve a niche for himself at Leeds. A view to a summer move would make sense, especially as Clark is still young enough to have a successful career.