One of the first jobs for a football club at the end of each season is the publication of a retained list.
It’s called the retained list but quite often it’s nothing more than a massive list of players who are moving on. The turnover of footballers seems to grow every year and these are tense times for a lot of them.
The vast majority will be big enough to take what comes. It’s a cut-throat industry and you don’t get many favours in football. There were stages in my career when I knew my time at a certain club was up and you have to accept those decisions with good grace.
Even so, you always want decisions to be taken quickly. If a manager moves to keep you and offer you a new contract, great. If you’re told to look for pasture new then fair enough – but finding a new club isn’t an overnight process.
Leeds United are still to announce their retained list and a fair few members of their squad will be anxious to discover exactly where they stand. You can usually split out-of-contract players into two camps – those who will have plenty of options and those who could struggle to stay in the game. But every one of them will be keen to see what the future holds before they go on holiday. It’s not so relaxing sitting on the beach when you’re technically out of work.
Among the eight Leeds players who are out of contract this summer, Rodolph Austin stands out. It’s not a secret that Neil Redfearn wants to keep him at Elland Road and I definitely think that offering Austin a new deal would be a sensible move.
He’s not the most skilful of players and, without being disrespectful, I don’t think he’s Premier League standard but he’s very good in the Championship and you can tell that by the fact that numerous other Championship clubs seem to be interested in him.
He’s a midfield enforcer and, for me, he’s very good at setting the tone of a match. You need playmakers around him without a doubt but his engine and running make a difference when he’s on blob. Even as a member of the squad, he’s an impact player who can change the dynamic. I’d think carefully before letting him go for nothing.
Aside from Austin, the likes of Kalvin Phillips and Lewis Walters must be no-brainers. They’re just emerging from a very successful academy so Leeds would be daft to let them go. But where Aidy White’s concerned, the situation’s a bit more complex. Deep down I wonder if this is the point where he and Leeds part company.
Going back a few years, Aidy was a player who I expected to be a really big hit. Again, if the choice was mine then I’d probably give him another chance. But from his point of view, a fresh start could be better for him. He’s had a tough time since he signed his last contract and he’s been unlucky with injury. Perhaps this is an chance to get himself going again with a new club and a fresh outlook.
Of the players who were on loan at Elland Road this season, Sol Bamba doesn’t need much discussion. He’s been excellent and he has to stay – regardless of what he said about the club in the press this week. Leeds won’t appreciate players talking out of turn but Bamba was only saying what a lot of us have been thinking for a while: that the club’s not in a great state. Coming from someone as level-headed as Bamba seems to be, Leeds should really try to take his opinion on board.
Guys like Zan Benedicic and Edgar Cani made no impact and I’d be amazed if we see them again. With Dario Del Fabro and Brian Montenegro, what happens with them might well come down to what the academy staff think of them. Most of their appearances have come for the development squad. But Adryan’s the interesting one. He’s the player we all expected big things of last summer and, if I’m honest, he’s probably been the biggest disappointment.
You can see that he’s got natural talent but for all of that I’m not convinced he’s the sort of player Leeds need.
It’s not that he can’t play or that he’s got nothing about him but I don’t believe he’d ever thrive in the Championship.
Something tells me the club have reached that conclusion too.