Thierry Henry is going to sign with Leeds United at 4 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon, according to someone at Barcelona who drinks in my local pup.
Coincidentally, this person was drinking at the same times as I was.
Also, my best mate's brother's nephew went out with Thierry Henry’s third cousin, twice removed and she said it’s true too.
Leeds United are preparing for life in the Championship league following their dramatic promotion from League One, and the “Silly Season's” s transfer speculation is well and truly in full force.
To seriously assess what moves Leeds’ might make in the current transfer window and to speculate around the likelihood of what kind of players may be coming or going, you would need to start by studying some of the detail surrounding the club's finances.
In 2009, Leeds reported a £15,000 profit which was largely subsidised through profits made by player sales.
Leeds will report a more significant profit in 2010 based on the sale of Fabian Delph to Aston Villa. Also, the team had four bumper cup ties against Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur (twice), and each tie yelds about a £500,000 profit.
And Leeds United's share of the TV money increases from the £375,000 allocated to League One and Two clubs to the £1,000,000 for teams in the Championship league.
In addition to all these added revenues, Leeds will probably receive another £1,000,000 from increased attendances in the higher league and inflated ticket prices.
In short, Leeds probably have or will profit approximately £5,000,000 over the last season.
Not all of this money will be available to spend, however.
Players' wages will increase and the running costs of a Championship side are potentially greater than in the lower leagues (i.e. policing larger crowds, more away fans, and so forth).
It’s probably reasonable to surmise that this will munch away over £2,000,000 of Leeds’ 2009-10 profit, if not more.
These are all uneducated, “back of a fag packet” calculations but at a rough guesstimate, Leeds transfer kitty is likely to be in the £2,500,000 bracket, although it wouldn’t surprise me to learn there was a £1,000,000 variance either way.
Simon Grayson has been busy acquiring a decent array of free signings and snapping up Neil Collins for an undisclosed fee.
Kasper Schmeichel has arrived on a free transfer representing the most notable arrival. Billy Paynter has also arrived on a free transer to bolster the attacking options, as has Lloyd Sam, brings some much needed pace to the wings.
Paul Connolly and Fede Bessone, the other “freebies,” bring some much needed cover and competition to the right and left full back positions, respectively.
We’re not sure how much the club had to pay to secure the signing of Neil Collins but this looks like a cute piece of business.
Maybe it was not the best piece of marketing by the clubs official website to herald his arrival with a picture of the central Defender in action at Gillingham (where Leeds were 3-0 down after 25 minutes)!
All in all, Simon Grayson has moved pretty effectively to add depth to the squad, but it’s probably his next few signings that will give the biggest indication of the club's ambitions in the forthcoming 2010-11 season.
With six players already acquired, it would be fair to ask, “How many more players do the club need?"
In the second half of last season, the defense had become as effective as a chocolate fire guard and with Patrick Kisnorbo absent until October and Richard Naylor certain to miss the start of the season, the central defensive options are limited to Neil Collins and Leigh Bromby.
It may well be that Simon Grayson will look to bring in a loan man, but given Richard Naylor's alarming loss of form last season, the Leeds' boss might be well served to seek a permanent signing.
The central midfield is taking shape with the likes of Jonny Howson, Neil Kilkenny, and Bradley Johnson, and the jigsaw will probably be completed with the signing of a ball-winning midfielder.
Speculation in the local Coventry media suggests that Leeds United's interest in Michael Doyle is cooling and rumours that Daryl Russell will be brought in on a free transfer from Norwich have also died away over the last week.
Peter Eustace was set to sign but changed his mind during the physical exam (maybe he didn’t like having a thermometer shoved up his backside?).
To be fair, that decision is reasonable enough on the basis it is preferable not to have a player sign, take his wages, and subsequently produce half-hearted performances each week.
Another area of concern and the subject of most speculation is the acquisition of some firepower up front.
Gary Hooper is the subject of feverish speculation on various forums and websites, but not once has this subject appeared from a source that one might regard as even remotely reliable.
Some would like us to believe a £3,000,000 package has been agreed for Hooper, but the alleged sticking point is a 20 percent sell on clause that Scunthorpe United F.C. would need to pay to Southend United (potentially £600,000).
All sorts of other players' names are cropping up in various price ranges but none from reliable sources.
Billy Sharp is rumored to cost £1,000,000; he was from Sheffield United until he signed for Doncaster.
Scott Sinclair is rumored to cost £1,000,000 from our good buddies at Chelsea.
Ade Akinfenwa is supposed to have had a trial (being out of contract with Northampton).
Adam Le Fondre from Rotherham is rumored to cost £1,300,000.
Gillinghams’ Simeon Jackson, Leroy Lita of Middlesbrough, Rob Hulse from Derby, Shanchez Watt on loan from Arsenal … the list grows by the day.
Those who follow the club's interests know that transfer dealings are usually kept very hush, hush.
Fede Bessone, for instance, came out of nowhere. Well he came from Swansea actually but the point being that there was no speculation to precede his arrival.
The likelihood is that when any of the above vacancies are filled, it will occur without much forewarning in the media.
These are interesting and exciting times and, for the time being, the Leeds faithful will need to place trust in Simon Grayson to bring in the right calibre of player to build a squad that will keep Leeds in the Championship at the very least.
Oh, and just to clear matters up with regards to Thierry Henry, there is no truth to my frivolous speculation, as far as I am aware, that he will be joining Leeds.