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Championship

Amadou Haidara released by Leeds United, bringing an end to bizarre transfer chapter

The French defender was a shock signing, who never made it into the Leeds first-team.

Mathew Nash

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One of the strangest transfer in Leeds United’s recent history has reached its final chapter, with Amadou Haidara having his contract at the club terminated last month.

The news has been confirmed by The FA on their Monthly Bulletins page regarding player registrations. In fact, the official date of Haidara’s release at Leeds United is recorded as the 20th February, so Haidara has been away from Leeds for nearly a month.

Haidara’s signing was always something of an enigma at Leeds. On deadline day in the summer of 2016 his picture was doing the rounds on social media as a new Leeds signing. Fans scramble to find out about the player, but not much existed. Some got him confused with the Red Bull Salzburg registered midfielder.

LEEDS, ENGLAND – JANUARY 20: A young Leeds United fan sings during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Millwall at Elland Road on January 20, 2018 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

But this Haidara was not the marauding midfielder making a name for himself in Austria. Instead it was a then 22-year-old centre-back. Haidara had previously been at Nantes. Whilst with the Canaries he had spells on trial at Nottingham Forest and Portuguese side Pacos Ferreira. No deals ever came about and he was released by Nantes in 2014.

The two years between are a mystery. Haidara was certainly not signed to any professional football team.

All of a sudden he popped up at Leeds. Haidara does share an agent with Leeds winger Hadi Sacko and then club captain Sol Bamba – which could explain a few things.

Haidara soon got to work at whipping himself into shape and featuring for the Leeds United under-23s. However, despite the occasional shortage at the back, the first-team never called upon him.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 29: Alberto Moreno of Liverpool and Hadi Sacko of Leeds United battle for the ball during the EFL Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool and Leeds United at Anfield on November 29, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

This season, with wholescale investment into the under-23 side, Haidara found himself struggling to feature for Carlos Corberan’s development team.

Most Leeds fans were surprised that Haidara got a second season to try and prove himself at the club. But the Frenchman, now 24, has not made it to the end of the campaign.

It will be interesting to keep track of the player now and see where his future lies. Could he remain in England, or head back to France to try and continue his career.

Sports journalist based in Bristol. Previously spent five years writing for HITC Sport. Everton fan for my sins.

Nottingham Forest

Two pros and two cons to Nottingham Forest re-signing Lee Tomlin

The 29-year-old proved to be a shrewd piece of business last season.

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Lee Tomlin
Photo: Getty Images

Nottingham Forest manager Aitor Karanka pulled off a masterstroke last January when he secured the loan signing of Lee Tomlin who arrived until the end of the 2017/18 campaign on loan.

The stocky attacker performed admirably for the Reds during his time with the club and there was real hope from Forest supporters that their boss would bring Tomlin back to the City Ground during the summer.

Karanka has since gone on a spending spree and signed nine new players and unfortunately for Tomlin several of those new additions have come in the way of attacking options, which could hamper his chances of coming back to the East Midlands.

According to the Mirror (16/07/2018 23:09), the ex-Bristol City man is free to depart the Cardiff City Stadium this summer following their promotion to the Premier League, although it does remain to be seen whether Forest are in the running for their former loan star.

(Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Here we look at two pros and two cons to Forest completing a deal which would see the 29-year-old return to Trentside…

Pro – Undoubted quality at Championship level

Tomlin netted four goals and created three assists from his 15 appearances in the red of Forest last season but it was perhaps his overall play which saw him claim more praise from Forest’s supporters.

The Cardiff City man possesses incredible feet and his build-up play is magnificent, making him one of the Championship’s very best creative players on his day, although some inconsistencies are perhaps evident.

There is an argument to suggest that Tomlin would get in most teams at second tier level and if Forest do manage to secure his services it is a move that would undoubtedly add more quality to the squad.

Con – Loan deal more likely

Forest have already secured a couple of summer loan signings and with Sam Byram’s pending arrival from West Ham United also likely to be a loan, it begs the question of where Forest would fit all these temporary players.

Tomlin’s excessive wage at Cardiff City means that a loan deal is far more likely than a permanent deal at this stage and that might not sit well with The Reds’ hierarchy.

Only five loan players can be included in the squad of 18 and it just doesn’t seem likely that Forest will pursue anymore temporary deals – other than Byram – at this stage.

Pro – Affection with the Forest supporters

One thing that Lee Tomlin did do amicably well during his loan spell at the City Ground was build up a rapport with the long-suffering Nottingham Forest faithful.

The Reds’ loyal fan base haven’t had loads to shout about in recent times but Tomlin’s arrival last season felt like the club finally had a player who they could relate to once again and his work rate and desire to succeed really shone through.

Whilst some Forest fans might feel that the team has plenty of players capable of playing in Tomlin’s position, he would surely be welcomed back based on his popularity on the banks of the River Trent.

Con – Not really needed

Forest have spent heavily this summer and in Gil Dias, João Carvalho, Diogo Gonçalves and Hilal Soudani they have added a plethora of players capable of playing in a number of attacking positions on the pitch.

Tomlin’s arrival would feel very much like the Reds were stockpiling players, rather than signing them to actually make a difference when it comes to winning Championship games of football.

Forest already have seven or eight players on their books who are proving difficult to offload and they can ill-afford to have any extra players kicking their heels on the fringes of the first-team.

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Leeds United

Neil Warnock confirms no interest in Ronaldo Vieira, great news for Leeds United

Leeds United’s talented midfielder was linked with Cardiff City earlier this week.

Mathew Nash

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The weekend saw one of Leeds United’s top talents linked with a move to the Premier League. As reported by the Sun on Sunday [15/07/2018, page 59], Cardiff City were said to be keen on an £8 million move for England under-21 midfielder Ronaldo Vieira.

It was a move that would have left Leeds fans livid. Whilst Vieira did not have a great season last term he is still a hot prospect for the future.

But Leeds fans can, it seems, rest easy. Cardiff City boss Neil Warnock, a former Leeds manager with a rather low opinion poll at Elland Road, has confirmed his club are not interested in signing Vieira this summer.


“We’ve been linked quite a few times with him and from about four different agents I think, so I don’t know which one of them put it in the press!

“When I read a couple of things in the papers, I think ‘have I not said no about this player before?'”

– Neil Warnock on apparent Ronaldo Vieira interest


This development from Warnock is great news for Leeds. Not because they are not making a bid, but because it would have been hard to turn down for the talented midfielder.

(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

If Cardiff were keen, there is every chance Vieira would have pushed for a move.

As has been seen in the past, Leeds youngsters are not always prepared to wait for a chance in the top-flight.

Sam Byram, Charlie Taylor and Lewis Cook have all forced moves to the Premier League in recent memory and Vieira might have been the same if there was genuine interest.

Now it seems there isn’t, the 20-year-old can hopefully thrive under Marcelo Bielsa in 2018-19.

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Derby County

Matej Vydra should make Leeds move instead of misguided Premier League switch

The Czech forward bagged himself 21 goals last season.

Max Cohen

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Matej Vydra
Photo: Getty Images

According to The Sun, Derby County striker Matej Vydra is on his way out of Pride Park and is seeking a Premier League move, although fellow Championship club Leeds United are also interested.

Vydra should choose to sign with Leeds and fire the Yorkshire club to promotion, as he is not ready for a return to the Premier League.

The Czech Republic international is a player who occupies the awkward space between being top-class in the second division, yet not up to speed in the top flight.

In the Championship, there is absolutely no questioning Vydra’s quality. Last season for Derby, the striker banged in 21 goals and was the division’s top scorer, and in 2012/13 for Watford he chipped in 20 goals and eight assists.

(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

But in the Premier League, Vydra has struggled to find his feet. In 24 total top-flight appearances (23 for West Brom and one for Watford), the 26-year-old has scored just three times and provided four assists.

His poor Premier League statistics reveal why he is unlikely to receive much interest from top-flight teams this summer. But given Derby County’s Financial Fair Play worries, manager Frank Lampard may be forced to offload the frontman against his wishes.

The addition of Vydra would be a massive coup for Marcelo Bielsa’s men, as his past managers have heaped praise on the attacker. Back in October, Gary Rowett tipped Vydra to become the best creator in the second division.

“I said to him the other day that he’s got everything to be the best number 10 in this division. Both of his feet are fantastic; he can run, he’s quick and powerful.”

Leeds United would do well to acquire the services of Matej Vydra, one of the Championship’s best striking talents who could light up Elland Road next season.

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