SIMON Grayson expects a subdued end to the transfer window at Elland Road after revealing that he has all but completed his work on Leeds United’s first-team squad.
Grayson is anticipating further signings before Wednesday’s transfer deadline, following the five who have come to Leeds since the end of last season, but he is not anticipating a flurry of activity in the closing stages of the summer window.
United’s manager said the performance of his team in the past fortnight and the imminent return of a number of players after injury meant a spate of deals was “not a necessity”.
He also predicted a number of departures from Elland Road with out-of-favour striker Mike Grella heading the list of available professionals.
Andy Keogh became Leeds’ fifth and most recent signing when he joined United on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers last week, committing himself to Leeds until the start of January.
Grayson had previously landed Darren O’Dea on a full-season loan from Celtic and signed Andy Lonergan, Paul Rachubka and Michael Brown on permanent deals.
Leeds’ recruitment drive attracted criticism throughout the summer – viewed by some as insufficient to enhance a club that finished seventh in the Championship last term – and it came under attack again following a 3-1 defeat to Southampton on the first day of the season, but Grayson has been aided by the rise to prominence of fringe players Adam Clayton and Ramon Nunez and academy products Aidan White and Tom Lees.
Grayson, meanwhile, restated his long-held belief that United’s more valuable squad members – most notably Max Gradel and Robert Snodgrass – will remain at Elland Road beyond the end of the transfer window, temporarily ending speculation about their future.
“There’ll be a little bit of work going on but it won’t be anything major because we’ve done most of our work already,” Grayson said. “It’s not a necessity.
“The players here are doing well enough and we’ve got players coming back from injury after this weekend, but that isn’t to say I’m not going to try and sign someone before the window shuts on Wednesday. That’s far from the case.
“We’ve made our intentions clear by keeping our best players but I do want to increase competition. That’s what it’s going to be about – increasing the competition for places and the quality of that competition too.
“I think that’s going to be the case with a lot of teams. Some will be desperate and will go out and spend money and some others will look to do loan deals but I think the majority won’t do too much. If they do anything, I’d expect them to do loan deals.
“A lot of people were talking negatively about us after the first game of the season but I knew what I’d got together here and how they’d done in pre-season. I was confident about where we’d be and we’ve proven what a good side we are.”
Grayson’s remaining targets are likely to be found on the fringes of Premier League clubs, all of whom are in the process of selecting their 25-man squads for this season.
United have a firm interest in Aston Villa defender Eric Lichaj, who completed a loan spell at Elland Road last season and who would be welcomed back if Villa manager Alex McLeish is willing to release him.
Leeds were also linked this week with young Arsenal midfielder Henri Lansbury, a player they narrowly failed to sign in August of last year.
But any arrivals are likely to be offset by transfers out of Thorp Arch, with Grayson confirming that Grella has options to consider after being transfer-listed. Brentford are rumoured to be chasing him.
The American striker is in the final year of his contract with United and is unlikely to regain Grayson’s faith in that time.
The United boss last used him in a competitive fixture 12 months ago and Grella was made available for a permanent transfer after controversially cutting short a loan spell at Swindon Town in April.
Grayson also hinted that Alex Bruce would be free to take up opportunities away from Elland Road, though the central defender is currently injured. Bruce has appeared on the bench twice this season but is at the end of a roll of centre-backs which includes O’Dea, Patrick Kisnorbo, Leigh Bromby and Andy O’Brien.
Grayson said: “There might be one or two lads going out. With Mike Grella there could be things lined up and perhaps a few of the younger ones will go out on loan.
“Alex (Bruce) is injured at the moment but I’ve said to the fringe players that if they feel the need to play football – whether that’s on a permanent deal or on loan – and they’re not playing too much here, then I’ll help them to do that.
“I know what it’s like to be a player who’s not playing. Whoever falls into that category, if they want to go then I’m happy to help. It might free up a position for me to strengthen.”