All Stats Aren’t We Monthly Newsletter: Issue V (March 2022)

Hello and welcome to a special edition of the All Stats Aren’t We newsletter. This month we are going to do something a little bit different, so we’ve decided to venture over to the Medium. Tom Alderson, Jon Mackenzie, Darren Driver and Adam Elliot have taken a trip down memory lane and reviewed every signing of the Victor Orta era at Leeds United, ahead of arguably the biggest summer of his time at Leeds. Each signing who played a significant amount of games for the first team will be given a rating for on-field success and value for money, along with a comment from the person who made the ratings. We have put out further explanations for our ratings in a podcast episode which you can listen to below:

2017/18 Season

Pontus Jansson

Fee: £3.6 Million

Later Sold for: £5.5 Million

On-field Success: 7.5/10

Value for Money: 9/10

TA: “Was arguably Leeds’ best player in the year before Bielsa joined. Struggled with the more possession-based style compared to Cooper and Ben White who followed him, which brought his mark down. Prone to some questionable moments. Made a profit and was a key player during his time at Leeds. Can’t ask for much more really.”

Mateusz Klich

Fee: £1.5 Million

Later Sold for: N/A

On-field Success: 9/10

Value for Money: 10/10

AE: “Became a key part of the promotion winning side and is never injured. Over 40 goal contributions and almost 200 apps for a nominal fee.”

Hadi Sacko

Fee: £1.6 Million

Later Sold for: Undisclosed

On-field Success: 5/10

Value for Money: 3/10

JM: “Ever-present in the 16/17 season but never quite the return we wanted from him with only two goals and four assists. Only picked up 249 minutes the following season before going on a number of loan spells. Considering he was more expensive than Mateusz Klich, it’s hard not to see this one as a flop.”

Felix Wiedwald

Fee: 500K

Later Sold for: Free

On-field Success: 5/10

Value for Money: 4/10

DD: “Played 28 games and performed well in a number of them. Made some key saves and was protected well by a secure defensive unit in the early part of the season. As his workload increased, he struggled badly with the physical side of the game and made regular costly mistakes. Was dropped twice in the course of the season, first for Andy Lonergan, then finally for Bailey Peacock-Farrell. The initial fee was low, so the business risk was minimal. The on-field risk, considerably higher. According to Transfermarkt, he moved on a free transfer. A failed transfer on both elements.”

Vurnon Anita

Fee: Free

Later Sold for: Free

On-field Success: 4/10

Value for Money: 4/10

TA: “Only played 22 games for Leeds. Never really seemed to get going and wasn’t as good as when he was at Newcastle. Didn’t pay a fee to buy him but didn’t get anything in return. Was one of the highest earners during his time at Leeds.”

Caleb Ekuban

Fee: 500K

Later Sold for: Reported £1 Million including loan fee.

On-field Success: 4/10

Value for Money: 8/10

AE: “Showed signs of promise but only one league goal to his name. Did a lot of things right in holding the ball and running channels, but lacked end product. Actually managed to make a small profit on a young-ish player.”

Samuel Saiz

Fee: £3.1 Million

Later Sold for: £2.25 Million

On-field Success: 7.5/10

Value for Money: 7/10

JM: “There are arguments to be made that we never adequately replaced Saiz in the Leeds squad even now. Scintillating at his best but off-field issues sometimes overshadowed. Hard to judge this one because of extenuating circumstances. Perhaps things would have been different if we hadn’t had to move him on quickly.”

Ezgjan Alioski

Fee: £3.2 Million

Later Sold for: Contract Expired

On-field Success: 9/10

Value for Money: 9/10

DD: “A key part of the squad through the most successful period for decades. Technically limited at the top level, frustrating but has incredible physical attributes and was able to contribute goals and assists throughout his time at Leeds, from various positions. Relatively low fee and lots of appearances.”

Jay-Roy Grot

Fee: 750K

Later Sold for: Free

On-field Success: 2/10

Value for Money: 1/10

TA: “Managed to somehow make 20 appearances during his single season at Leeds but had basically no impact, scoring only one goal. Made a fairly decent loss for the time on a player that didn’t provide much on the field.”

Andy Lonergan

Fee: Free

Later Sold for: Free

On-field Success: 3/10

Value for Money: 5/10

AE: “Back up goalkeeper who fulfilled his role adequately at best. Cost us a small wage to use for a handful of appearances.”

DD: “It’s the word adequate I disagree with. He was very much less than adequate — for reference check his performance away at Brentford…”

Pawel Cibicki

Fee: £1.5 Million

Later Sold for: 405K

On-field Success: 2/10

Value for Money: 2/10

JM: “Played just over 600 minutes for Leeds as one of the more expensive signings made in the Championship. Somehow we managed to recoup a fee from this one.”

Laurens De Bock

Fee: £1.5 Million

Later Sold for: STILL EMPLOYED BY LEEDS UNITED

On-field Success: 0/10

Value for Money: 0/10

DD: “If you saw him play, I don’t have to explain. A man so far out of his depth, he looked like he was playing in scuba gear. Thankfully the fee was low, as this is one of the worst transfers in the history of the club.”

Adam Forshaw

Fee: £4.5 Million

Later Sold for: N/A

On-field Success: 9/10

Value for Money: 7/10

JM: “A really important part of the Leeds United machine and one of the few central midfielders brought in under Bielsa. However, 2 years out injured has to pull his mark down. One of the bigger fees spent in the Championship, but you pay for quality and that’s what we got.”

Pascal Struijk

Fee: Undisclosed

Later Sold for: N/A

On-field Success: 8.5/10

Value for Money: 10/10

AE: “A young centre-back with elite potential, who is only going to improve. Only cost a small fee to buy and if he is ever sold a decent profit will be made. One of Orta’s best.”

Tyler Roberts

Fee: 2.5 Million

Later Sold for: N/A

On-field Success: 7/10

Value for Money: 8/10

TA: “People like to forget that Roberts was a regular feature of some of Leeds’ best runs of form under Bielsa. A key feature of his time at Leeds has been Roberts struggling to find form due to regular sub appearances. Has really struggled this year. 105 appearances for Leeds with periods of success. Would almost certainly be sold for a profit.”

Matthew Pennington

Fee: Loan

Later Sold for: End of Loan

On-field Success: 4/10

Value for Money: N/A

TA: “Perhaps the most unmemorable of this group of signings. Not the worst of the bunch but definitely not the best either.”

Pierre-Michel Lasogga

Fee: Loan

Later Sold for: End of Loan

On-field Success: 6/10

Value for Money: N/A

AE: “Slow and unfit but managed 10 goals from 33 appearances.”

Other Signings

Madger Gomes, Ouasim Bouy, Adrián Balboa, Hugo Díaz, Bryce Hosannah, Alejandro Machuca, Oriol Rey, Ousama Siddiki, Kun Temenuzhkov, Ryan Edmondson, Aapo Halme, Yosuke Ideguchi, Oliver Sarkic, Sam Dalby, Jordan Stevens, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson (Loan)

TA: “This was back when Orta was going for his more scattergun approach to transfers. Only Halme and Borthwich-Jackon made more than 2 appearances for Leeds, and Halme may end up being the only signing that wasn’t a complete disaster out of this bunch, as he was the only one sold for a fee.”

Average On-Field Success Rating: 5.31

Average Value for Money Rating: 5.69

Money Spent on players 17/18: £25.25 Million

Players later sold for: £9.47 Million (+ Undisclosed fee for Hadi Sacko and Yosuke Ideguchi)

Net Profit/Loss: £-15.78 Million

2018/19 Season

(Jack Harrison was on loan this season, but we will review his signing in the season he was made permanent.)

Leif Davis

Fee: Undisclosed

Later Sold for: N/A

On-field Success: 4/10

Value for Money: 7/10

JM: “Arrived as an under 18s player from Morecambe and, although he flirted with the senior team at Leeds, he never really broke through (despite being the back up left-back for a big chunk under Bielsa). Won’t have cost much. Will likely not sell for much.”

Barry Douglas

Fee: £3 Million

Later Sold for: Free

On-field Success: 5/10

Value for Money: 4/10

DD: “A classy and calm ball player, but probably physically unsuited to the style. Lots of minutes missed to niggling injury. Was a big fee for the time, I think Wolves sold him at the right time, so Leeds probably overpaid based on the previous season’s output.”

Patrick Bamford

Fee: £7 Million

Later Sold for: N/A

On-field Success: 9/10

Value for Money: 9/10

TA: “Arguably Leeds’ most important player since his arrival. Struggled to get going in his first year. Second year he did everything asked of him but score before lockdown, then really got going during Project Restart. Amazing first season in the Premier League but has struggled with injury this season. Well worth the money considering his output. May still make a profit on him if and when he’s sold.”

Kiko Casilla

Fee: Free

Later Sold for: N/A

On-field Success: 2/10

Value for Money: 3/10

DD: “A bad goalkeeper. Failed in the big moments and in the small ones too. Paying him handsomely for being banned was not good value.”

Lewis Baker

Fee: Loan

Later Sold for: End of Loan

On-field Success: 3/10

Value for Money: N/A

JM: “Only managed 6 months at Leeds and 220 mins in the Championship. Well regarded as a player (and doing well for Stoke now), but it never clicked at Leeds.”

Other Signings

Joshveer Shergill, Mateusz Bogusz, Morten Spencer, Jamal Blackman (Loan), Izzy Brown (Loan)

AE: “Unfortunately, Blackman and Brown barely played a game during this season. Brown had particularly impressed during other loans within the championship, and injuries cost both their potential places in the side. The approach from Orta at least was less scatter gun with more emphasis on quality. Bogusz also signed in this window and is still registered with the club despite multiple loans. He suffered an ACL injury during his time with Ibiza.

Average On-Field Success Rating: 4.6

Average Value for Money Rating: 5.75

Money Spent on players 17/18: £10 Million (+Undisclosed fee for Leif Davis)

Players later sold for: £0Million

Net Profit/Loss: £-10 Million

2019/20 Season

(Jack Harrison, Helder Costa and Illan Meslier were on loan at the club this season, but their transfers will be reviewed in the season they were made permanent.)

Ian Poveda

Fee: Free

Later Sold for: N/A

On-field Success: 5/10

Value for Money: 7/10

AE: “Some signs of promise but not much output aside from a fun performance against Man City. Could already be sold for a small profit and still has room to improve.”

Ben White

Fee: Loan

Later Sold for: End of Loan

On-field Success: 10/10

Value for Money: N/A

TA: “Maybe the perfect centre-back for a Bielsa system? Was unbelievable in Leeds’ promotion season.”

Jack Clarke
(Referring to his loan back from Spurs as part of his sale in 2019. Clarke’s loan was terminated early by Mourinho.)

Fee: Loan

Later Sold for: £11 Million

On-field Success: 3/10

Value for Money: 10/10

AE: “Hardly any impact, a complete waste of a loan.”

Eddie Nketiah

Fee: Loan

Later Sold for: End of Loan

On-field Success: 7/10

Value for Money: N/A

JM: “A good foil to Patrick Bamford and scored some important goals. Given the rumours about him still rumble on, he must have offered something.”

Other Signings

Stuart McKinstry, Liam McCarron, Rafa Mújica, Guillermo Amor, Alfie Hughes, Josh Galloway, Elia Caprile

DD: “The 18/19 season’s transfer activity was dominated by loan signings and the Jean-Kevin Augustin debacle. Although three of the loan signings would go on to be full signings and the Ben White loan was an unmitigated success, the rest of the season’s activity was underwhelming. Outside the senior squad, none of the u23 players signed have since broken into the first team as regulars and the Augustin legal case is still ongoing.”

Average On-Field Success Rating: 6.25

Average Value for Money Rating: 8.5

Money Spent on players 17/18: Free

Players later sold for: £11 Million

Net Profit/Loss: £11 Million

2020/21 Season

(Jack Harrison was still on loan this season, but we will review his signing in the season he was made permanent.)

Helder Costa

Fee: Undisclosed

Later Sold for: N/A (Reported £16.75 Million option for Valencia)

On-field Success: 6/10

Value for Money: 5/10

TA: Whilst he never hit the heights he hit at Wolves, he did help Leeds get promoted and put in some good performances in that season. Never really had a chance in the Premier League following the signing of Raphinha. I don’t think we know the answer to this one yet value wise. If Valencia take up their option to buy then Leeds will recoup most of the money they paid for Costa, which is fine as he helped Leeds to promotion. If he comes back and is difficult to get off the books, the value in this transfer will look worse as time passes.”

Illan Meslier

Fee: Undisclosed

Later Sold for: N/A

On-field Success: 9/10

Value for Money: 10/10

DD: “He is still developing, does anyone know how old he is? To be playing as a number 1 goalkeeper at this level at his age is incredible. He’s made mistakes this season, but his trajectory is upwards, and with greater protection, I expect to see him develop into a truly top level goalkeeper. The reported 5m fee looks like amazing value.”

Joe Gelhardt

Fee: Undisclosed

Later Sold for: N/A

On-field Success: 7/10

Value for Money: 10/10

AE: “Could be a 10 for the priceless Norwich goal alone. Already started to contribute more regularly to appearances and goals/assists. This number will only increase with time. Elite potential for less than £1m. His value should only be appreciated with time. Orta made the most of a bad situation at Wigan.”

Cody Drameh

Fee: Undisclosed

Later Sold for: N/A

On-field Success: 4/10

Value for Money: 8/10

JM: “Has never excelled in the senior team at Leeds but there were mitigating circumstances. Hopefully he will be given a chance when he returns from his loan spell at Cardiff. Hard to see this one not resulting in some sort of profit for Leeds or, should he find favour on his return, a decent stint with the senior team.”

Rodrigo

Fee: £26 Million

Later Sold for: N/A

On-field Success: 6/10

Value for Money: 3/10

AE: “15 goals and assists in 54 games but he’s never really fit into any system at Leeds. A record signing who has had a fair amount of injuries, and who we would lose money on. Poor value.”

Robin Koch

Fee: Undisclosed

Later Sold for: N/A

On-field Success: 6/10

Value for Money: 7/10

TA: “When he has managed to get a run of games, Koch has played well for Leeds. Has missed large periods due to injury though, which brings his score down. Good output for the price paid (reportedly 13 million). Would probably make a profit if sold in the next few years”

Crysencio Summerville

Fee: Undisclosed

Later Sold for: N/A

On-field Success: 5/10

Value for Money: 7/10

JM: “Hard to assess this one because there is a stark contrast between his under 23’s performances and his senior performances. Seems like Summerville will move on at some point and the club will probably recoup the costs or make a small profit”

Diego Llorente

Fee: Undisclosed

Later Sold for: N/A

On-field Success: 6/10

Value for Money: 4/10

DD: “Has performed well at times, if you like that sort of thing. Which is the outlier: The proactive, decisive centre back some people saw last season, or the rash, positionally-suspect bomb scare of this one? Or has his luck just changed? We’ll lose money on this signing, I’d be amazed if we ever recoup a significant fee. His age meant the fee was high to begin with and his injury record at Leeds shaves value off him.”

Raphinha

Fee: Undisclosed

Later Sold for: N/A

On-field Success: 10/10

Value for Money: 10/10

TA: “Easily the best player of all the players Orta has bought at Leeds. Considering his output, the low fee and the expected profit; this transfer should end up being great value.”

Other Signings

Charlie Allen, Dani van den Heuvel, Sam Greenwood

DD: “The squad’s quality needed raising to compete in the Premier League, and overall I consider the business in this window to be less smart than it could have been/needed to be. The thick end of 50m on Llorente and Rodrigo doesn’t feel like fantastic long term value, though both undoubtedly have quality. Koch’s signing feels unlucky due to his injuries, though this purchase was smart, low-ish fee and has potential. Apart from the loans made permanent, the known quantities, this window is really bailed out by the Raphinha signing, the one true success of this batch. However, I do think good business was done in bringing younger players in.

Average On-Field Success Rating: 6.8

Average Value for Money Rating: 7.11

Money Spent on players 17/18: £26 Million (Many fees undisclosed not included)

Players later sold for: N/A

Net Profit/Loss: £-26 Million

2021/22 Season

Jack Harrison

Fee: £11 Million

Later Sold for: N/A

On-field Success: 7/10

Value for Money: 8.5/10

AE: “Three years of decent loans followed by a small drop off. A regular in the team and never injured. Could be sold for profit, a fairly young English player for £11m is good in today’s market.”

Junior Firpo

Fee: £12.8 Million

Later Sold for: N/A

On-field Success: 4/10

Value for Money: 4/10

DD: “He’s a reclamation project, and the jury is still out on him. Some decent performances mixed in with some bad ones, and has missed a lot of game time. Not a crazy fee, but he’d need to have a very good season next year to hold his value.”

Dan James

Fee: £25 Million

Later Sold for: N/A

On-field Success: 6/10

Value for Money: 3/10

JM: “Judged in light of his transfer fee, James needed to be good on field rather than the middling he has been. Even thinking about the fee on this one makes me tear up.”

Other Signings

Amari Miller, Sean McGurk, Lewis Bate, Kristoffer Klaesson, Leo Fuhr Hjelde, Mateo Fernández

DD: “Again, the young players signed represent value and potential. There are mixed views on James, Firpo is widely viewed as a bad signing and Harrison barely counts, given he’d already been here for 3 years. In my mind, this window is defined as much by what wasn’t done as what was. Clear squad deficiencies were not addressed, leaving the club vulnerable to a season of struggle.”

Average On-Field Success Rating: 5.67

Average Value for Money Rating: 5.17

Money Spent on players 17/18: £48.8 Million

Players later sold for: N/A

Net Profit/Loss: £-48.8 Million

Conclusion

A fair reflection of Orta’s time at Leeds would be that it is a bit of a mixed bag. Looking at the graph below, he tends to buy a lot of younger players then sell them at peak age. However, when we’ve looked at the profit at the end of each season, he hasn’t made a profit once. It would be wise to approach this summer’s window with caution if Orta is still at the helm, as his track record suggests that he isn’t going to hit on all his signings.

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All Stats Aren’t We

A Leeds United blog which focuses on the tactical and statistical aspects of the game