Leeds United are targeting an ‘experienced midfielder’ in the January transfer window, and Keith Andrews could fulfil that role perfectly.
However, he has become something of an outcast since the appointment of Slavisa Jokanovic as head coach, and after being left out of matchday squads for games with Fulham and Wigan, the Serbian coach confirmed that the 34-year-old midfielder was no longer training with the squad. Since then, it has been revealed that the Hornets have dismissed the former Blackburn man from their training ground, although they are set to keep paying his wages until he finds another club.
With no future at either Vicarage Road or parent club Bolton, and with a wealth of Football League experience behind him, Leeds could do a lot worse than making a loan move for the veteran midfielder in the January window.
Director of Football Nicola Salerno has confirmed that bringing in an ‘experienced midfielder’ is one of the key aims for the Whites in the transfer window, and with a transfer embargo on them, the Yorkshire club can only move for free transfers and loan moves. Watford will be keen to get Andrews' wages off their books, and Leeds would be the perfect club for him to move to, with his brand of football something sorely missed in their inexperienced midfield.
Four seasons in the Premier League with Blackburn and West Brom, along with Championship spells with Brighton, Bolton and Hull have given the Irishman a wealth of knowledge of how English football works, and, although not the most talented of footballers, he is extremely adept at organising his teammates. At Watford, he was regularly used in the latter stages of games, as he came on the re-organise the side to see through victory.
A player who shouts and controls his teammates from the field of play is something Leeds sorely lack, and the inexperience of Lewis Cook and Alex Mowatt has shown in recent weeks - despite their talent. Tommaso Bianchi has been impressive, but still looks to be coming to terms with English football, and Andrews would have no problem with sitting deep in the midfield to shield the defence and control the younger players ahead of him.
He was also a willing bit-part player at Vicarage Road, meaning that he could be utilised as a late-game defensive aid at Elland Road, allowing Cook and Mowatt to continue progressing without losing their place in the first-team to the 34-year-old.
The only problem that Leeds could face in moving for Andrews would be his wages, with the FFP-restirced club unable to match the £25,000-a-week total currently receiving from Watford. However, with Bolton keen to get him off their books, the Greater Manchester club could be willing to pay the majority of his wages for the remainder of this season, knowing that he will be leaving the club at the end of the 2014/15 season.