Should Leeds United move for Watford’s Lloyd Dyer as Stephen Warnock replacement?

Leeds United

Stephen Warnock looks set to leave Leeds United to sign for Derby County.

The Rams are reportedly closing in on a deal for the 33-year-old full-back according to The BBC, and his experience and talent could prove to be the vital aspect that sees the Midlands club promoted to the Premier League.

Whilst Derby fans will be delighted that such a good player will be arriving at the iPro Stadium in the coming days, Warnock’s departure will leave a gaping void in the Whites ranks, with the former Liverpool man arguably the best Leeds player of the season.

Whilst the club have been wise to remove one of their highest earners from their wage bill to start an attempted compliance with FFP, Warnock’s departure will leave Neil Redfearn without an experienced left-back at Elland Road.

Gaetano Berardi looks unsuited to English football in the few outings endured since his summer arrival, and, although Charlie Taylor has shown promise in two Championship appearances, the 21-year-old should hardly be relied upon as first-choice defender for a club of Leeds’ stature.

Liam Cooper can also fill in at left-back, but he looks to have become Redfearn’s first-choice central defender, and it should be the coach’s imperative to fill Warnock’s void ahead of any other transfer business in the January window.

And there is one man in the Championship who ticks all the boxes to replace Warnock - Lloyd Dyer.

The Watford man has not enjoyed his time in Hertfordshire since signing for the promotion chasers at the start of the campaign. One of Leicester’s key men last year as they won the Championship, the 32-year-old arrived at Vicarage Road on a free transfer, signing a three-year contract - although he has already been made available on the transfer market.

A falling out with the Watford management resulted in the departure of head coach Beppe Sannino in August, and, although the Hornets are now onto their fourth head coach of the season, Dyer has remained a peripheral figure, suggesting further disagreements with even higher up members of staff. Current boss Slavisa Jokanovic confirmed to the Watford Observer that the winger had been transfer and loan listed, along with central midfielder - and fellow disruptor - Lewis McGugan.

It is Dyer, who has a wealth of Championship experience, who could prove to be a vital component of a Leeds side if he were to join. Despite signing as a winger, he has been converted into a left-sided defender during his spell with Watford, playing as both full-back and wing-back, and he would also be able to provide classic English wing-play as an attacking outlet if signed by the Whites.

Whilst not a natural defensive talent, he showed some skill in the left-back position, but the real advantage of signing Dyer would come from his knowledge of the league. The big criticism with the current Leeds squad is that there are few experienced Championship leaders in the side, who make up for a lack of talent with a strong work ethic and an ability to direct their teammates to victory. Dyer has over 300 Football League appearances to his named, and has won all three divisions of the competition.

The ageing Englishman would not only fill a positional void left by Warnock’s departure, but he would provide added experience that will be lost when Warnock joins Derby. And, best of all for the transfer embargoed Leeds side, Watford are actively looking to move Dyer on, and would likely sanction a loan deal for a small fraction of the wages Warnock was on at Elland Road, making him a cost-effective, and remarkably intelligent, transfer target.

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