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Championship

Granddi Ngoyi relegated to French sixth tier, three years after Leeds United stay

The DR Congo international is now playing football for Senart-Moissy.

Mathew Nash

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There were plenty of dud signings during the Massimo Cellino era at Leeds United. One such player was midfielder Granddi Ngoyi.

It is now a little over three years since the French-born DR Congo international played his one and only game for the club. Ngoyi was handed a start against Norwich City in the Championship by Neil Redfearn. He failed to impress, playing the full 90 minutes as the Canaries won 1-0.

It was one of the more bizarre transfers of the Cellino era.

Ngoyi arrived, took the number 10 shirt, but changed to number six after the arrival of a similarly awful recruit Edgar Cani. Then, in one of his first training sessions, Ngoyi picked up an injury.

It was, all in all, a disastrous loan spell which had promised so much.

Ngoyi had come through the ranks at Paris Saint-Germain and looked a hot prospect in French football. He had six caps for the French under-21s and had arrived along with future captain Sol Bamba from Italian side Palermo.

(Photo credit should read THOMAS BREGARDIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Leeds fans rightly felt he might be a sleeper signing. A robust midfield dynamo, perhaps Ngoyi could have been a future Leeds star?

So after it became clear Ngoyi was a disastrous signing, did it turn out that he was simply unlucky at Leeds?

Judging by the three years since it appears Leeds did not miss out.

Ngoyi went on to spend the following season on loan at Dijon, but played just 15 times for the club, spending much of his time out of the first-team squad.

After that loan spell, the former Leeds loanee was released by parent club Palermo. Which, is where it all went quiet for a while.

Ngoyi spent the next two years out of the professional game suffering from injury trouble and it is clear he was not physically up to the task of playing professionally for Leeds, or anyone else.

In January, the 30-year-old did find himself a new team. Ngoyi joined National 3 side Senart-Moissy, which is the fifth tier of the French football league system. He told Le Parisien in February that this was the end of his professional career, as he looks to simply enjoy his football.

His move however certainly did not help the side. Senart-Moissy have finished bottom of the table and will now play in the sixth tier of French football next term.

From a move to Leeds to the sixth tier of French football in just three years, it has been quite the fall from grace for the former PSG talent.

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

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wolves signing Miguel Veloso would reunite him with long-time partner Joao Moutinho

The Portuguese pair formed a formidable partnership for both club and country and could potentially do similar at Wolves.

Mathew Nash

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Wolves are being linked with a move for free agent midfielder Miguel Veloso. TEAMtalk are suggesting that the newly-promoted side are looking to add the 56-cap Portugal international to their fold this week. He is a free agent having left Genoa and Everton are reportedly also keen.

It would be an interesting signing for Wolves and one which, on paper, certainly makes sense. Veloso is represented by the Jorge Mendes ran Gestifute company. He is also a player with an illustrious record, winning titles with Sporting and Dynamo Kiev.

At Sporting he was considered one of Portugal’s most promising young talents. He was not alone in that respect. He came through to the first-team picture in Lisbon at the same time as another central midfielder, one Wolves fans will know very well.

Miguel Veloso, Yannick and João Moutinho during the Under 21 Championship Play-offs between Portugal and Russia in Porto, Portugal on October 10, 2006. (Photo by CityFiles/Getty Images)

Both Veloso and Joao Moutinho came through at Sporting in 2005. The pair went on to form a formidable partnership in the heart of Sporting’s midfield for the next five years. In 2010, both men left. Veloso headed to Kiev, whilst Moutinho made a controversial switch to Porto.

Moutinho went on to establish a reputation as one of the more consistent central midfielders in Europe.

So this summer, when Wolves signed him for a bargain fee of just £5 million, it was an eye-catching piece of business.

If they could also secure Veloso, the pair might be able to rekindle some of their old magic at Molineux.

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Leeds United

Bielsa’s Engine Room: Kalvin Phillips continues to thrive in new Leeds role

The 22-year-old came through the Elland Road academy system.

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Kalvin Phillips
Photo: Getty Images

After Marco Bielsa’s Leeds United continued their impressing winning start to the season this weekend, recording a 2-1 victory over Rotherham, several players are being highlighted for praise.

Among those who deserve the majority share of the plaudits is 22-year-old Kalvin Phillips, who continues to thrive in the playing style implemented by the club’s new boss.

A player capable of keeping it simple at the base of the midfield, Phillips has proven to be astute defensively and comfortable in possession – key traits for a player to thrive in the Argentine’s system.

Against Rotherham on Saturday, he registered 112 touches, more than any other player on the pitch and a personal best for the club.

He also completed the most passes on the day (88), recorded more interceptions than anyone else (six) and created two chances, one of which went down as an assist.

Rotherham marked a third exceptional Championship performance of the season for the youngster, with his movement and distribution keeping the ball ticking over in central midfield.

The academy talent is proving himself to be a force in central midfield for the Whites, quickly establishing himself as the lynchpin of the Bielsa revolution at Elland Road.

If Phillips can maintain this level of performance he will be integral in the club’s promotion push throughout the remainder of the season.

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Aston Villa

One to Watch: Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish at his creative best vs Ipswich

The Villa youngster was exceptional again this weekend.

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Jack Grealish
Photo: Getty Images

Jack Grealish again proved why he is Aston Villa’s most important player in their attempt to gain promotion back to the Premier League with an excellent performance in Villa’s 1-1 draw with Ipswich Town on Saturday.

The 22-year-old’s wonderful display was underpinned by the 28 passes he completed in the final third – which, according to WhoScored was more than any other player had managed in a single Championship game thus far this season.

Grealish also completed five key passes in the game, bringing his season total to 11 – more than any other player in the league other than Norwich’s Ben Marshall (also 11).

Furthermore, the Englishman completed five of his six dribbles in the game.

(Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images)

Steve Bruce spoke glowingly of Grealish this week on TalkSport.

“He’s arguably the best young player I’ve had in terms of ability. He can do something where he can lift you off your seat, he’s such a natural footballer and of course he’s grown up a bit,” the Aston Villa manager said.

“For me, he’s going to be a top, top player.”

It is hard not to agree with Bruce. Not only does it appear as though Grealish has matured greatly in the last 12 months, his performances since the turn of the year have been astounding – he has arguably been the division’s best player in that period.

His constant menacing against Ipswich was no different – he has started this season brightly.

He has now been offered a new contract by Villa, according to BBC Sport, and looks set to stay with the club for short-term after a move to Tottenham Hotspur broke down this summer.

If he can manage to help guide Villa to the Premier League, he may be there for the long-term.

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