COMMENT By Editor Wayne Veysey
If Leeds end their 13-year spell in the lower league doldrums and secure promotion in May – and it remains a big if – one undoubted area where refurbishment will be necessary is in the goalkeeper position.
Rob Green has done a solid enough job this season without quite providing the cast-iron shield behind the defence that supporters would prefer.
The 37-year-old is likely to earn a contract extension from Leeds and his experience, professionalism and knowledge make him an invaluable dressing-room presence.
But even Green’s biggest supporters would find it difficult to present a convincing argument that he could be a Premier League No1 at this stage of his career.
Should Leeds reach the holy grail of the top flight, the veteran must be demoted to back-up status and a more agile and reliable goalkeeper recruited for next season.
The ideal man would be Tottenham’s current No2 Michel Vorm, who is well known to Garry Monk from their time together at Swansea.
Intriguingly, a reported major development at Spurs this week means the Dutchman could be available and within Leeds’ reach.
Reports emerged in Spain on Tuesday that Mauricio Pochettino has decided to activate the the clause in Pau Lopez’s loan deal to buy him from Espanyol.
Spanish newspaper Sport claim manager Pochettino has been so impressed by the third-choice goalkeeper Pau Lopez, 22, that he has given the go-ahead to a permanent transfer nearly three months before the end-of-April deadline.
The deal, it is said, will cost Tottenham more than £6.5million in total, taking into account the loan charge for this season.
The writing is now on the wall for Vorm, even though his Tottenham contract runs until the summer of 2018 and he was in the starting line-up just 10 days ago, keeping a clean sheet in a goal-less draw at Sunderland.
It is inevitable that Lopez will soon displace Vorm and become the deputy for skipper and undisputed No1 Hugo Lloris.
This will mean the 33-year-old White Hart Lane No2 will be on the open market – he is hardly going to accept being third in the pecking order – and Leeds should make a swoop if they are in the Premier League next season.
It is a deal that would work for both parties. Leeds would be getting a proven top-flight performer who is agile, vocal, has sharp reflexes and comfortable with the ball at his feet – the latter certainly isn’t something that can be said for Green.
Vorm made it clear in the wake of Monk’s first season as Swansea manager that he is a big admirer of the 37-year-old’s coaching abilities.
“I like Garry Monk and I would like it very much if he was still manager next season,” said the Holland international in 2014 to Wales Online.
“Obviously, at this point none of us know if he will be the manager next season. But I can guarantee that if he gets the job he will be amazing at it. He is dedicated to it. It is so hard to take over like he did, but he did it very well.
“Whatever happens, I think he is the best choice, he knows everyone and he works so hard – that is important here. We played together for more than two years so I know him as a person and as a player.”
A few months later Vorm signed for Tottenham, where he has had to play second fiddle for three seasons to Lloris, widely regarded as one of the outstanding goalkeepers in world football.
The possibility of being a No1 again and teaming up with Monk again might well be regarded as a tempting one for a keeper who would represent an upgrade on Leeds’ current keeper options.
Secure top-flight status and this deal could very well be a go-er.
In other Leeds transfer news, the club are eying a stunning triple transfer swoop as three players headed into the training ground.