The transfer window is an exciting, yet often frustrating time for fans of football clubs up and down the country as they eagerly await new arrivals in the hope that they’ll lead their team to success.

Like most football clubs, Leeds United have seen a lot of players come and go over the last few years. Many of them were distinctly average footballers who did little but make up the numbers, whilst others appeared to have blagged their way through the interview and somehow conned our management into believing they were a professional footballer.

Transfers can be a lot like gambling at a Betway casino, there’s a certain risk involved with them all, but the potential rewards are so great that the transfer window never loses it’s excitement. Here’s a selection of Simon Grayson’s winners.

Davide Somma 

Whilst playing for the San Jose Earthquakes in the American MLS, Davide Somma met former Leeds United striker Darren Huckerby who convinced the South African he should head for England and try his luck in the land where football began.

Heeding the words of Huckerby, Somma boarded a plane for England with a one-way ticket and never looked back. Following a trial with Queens Park Rangers, the Leeds United scouts gave him a shot at Thorp Arch. Suitably impressed with what they saw, Simon Grayson gave the South African a professional contract and shipped him out on loan, firstly to Darlington then Chesterfield and finally Lincoln.

It was at Lincoln City where Somma really showed what he was capable of, scoring 9 times in 13 appearances. The following season Davide Somma remained at Leeds and scored twice in his first game of 2010-11 after coming on as a substitute v Millwall. Despite playing second fiddle to Luciano Becchio, Somma managed 12 goals in 2010-11 and was also called up to the South African national side.

Sam Sodje

Few players manage to endear themselves to the Leeds United faithful quite as much as Sam Sodje did and it was all the more impressive considering the centre-back played just 8 times for the club.

Sodje signed on loan for the final few games of the 2008-09 season and instantly impressed the Whites fans by forming a formidable partnership with Richard Naylor. Leeds fans demanded the defender was signed permanently at the end of the season, but after much speculation he joined Charlton Athletic. Leeds meanwhile had to settle for the next player on our list.

Patrick Kisnorbo 

Paddy Kisnorbo is the living embodiment of everything Leeds United fans want in their players – a tough, uncompromising, hard-working player who wears his heart on his sleeve and never gives up.

Kisnorbo received a nasty blow to the head on his Leeds United début that required 12 stitches and plastic surgery to fully fix the problem. The surgery would mean Kisnorbo would have to miss a few matches however, so the Australian instead delayed the operation and spent the rest of the season sporting a white protective headband – something Leeds United fans could often be seen wearing in his honour.

The Australian’s first season at the club was an exceptional one. Despite being injured in March 2010 against Millwall, Leeds United were promoted with the best defensive record in the league – a feat Whites fan unanimously agree was greatly aided by the performances of Patrick Kisnorbo.

Lloyd Sam

Lloyd Sam arrived at his hometown club at the start of the 2010-11 season and was immediately put into play with Robert Snodgrass and Max Gradel both unavailable for the opening games.

His performances were a breath of fresh air, instantly winning him the hearts of Leeds United fans. Sam’s pace and ability to get by people and whip a cross in saw him become an ever-present in the Leeds United team until a minor foot injury left him sidelined.

After recovering from injury, Sam struggled to break his way back into a team where Robert Snodgrass and Max Gradel were putting in consistently good performances. Sam’s role became largely limited to the bench for the second half of the season, but when called upon, he always gave a solid performance.

Max Gradel 

It could have all been so very different for “Mad” Max Gradel had his red card on the final day of the 2009-10 season cost us promotion.

Max Gradel often plays football like a child in a playground. Undeniably greedy and convinced he can take half the opposition on himself, Gradel isn’t scared of running with the ball and taking the shot. For the most part, he’s pretty successful at it too, proven by his 18 goals last season – not bad for a winger.

After joining Leeds United on loan from Leicester City back in 2009, Gradel quickly proved his worth and was signed up permanently in the following transfer window. One of only a handful of players Leeds United have paid for over the past few years and he’s been worth every penny.

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27 Responses

  1. Gryff

    I voted Max Gradel, but I reckon Nunez will make a big impact this season if he can find space between current crop. He looked great on the vids we could see of him, and then showed he can do it against real opposition for Scunny. Now he’s doing it for us in pre-season.

  2. 5_quid

    Play Max as a twin striker with Lucianno or Davide and play Lloyd on the wing and watch the goals flood in

  3. CJ

    Gradel is by far Graysons best signing. Facts are, most of Larry’s signings have been very poor. If you had to pick his worst signing, you would be spoilt for choice!

  4. number1inyorkshire

    they have been few and far between and aside from lichaj his loans have been pretty abysmal .

    you get what yo pay for and to be honest we are only voting in our thousands ,well hundreds for gradel because he scored 18 goals last season ,which is fair enough if he does it again or even stays he will get my vote next time .

    his hands are tied i suppose but it might be some that have left who cause grayson bigger problems .

  5. Peter

    Trouble is that there are far more failures than successes. Whilst its good to stick by your decisions to keep playing MCthingy, Bob the painter, can’t get out of bed McCartney etc shows blind faith. Even this summer he has pledged his allegiance to Bob, and appears surprised that a player that scored a shed load of goals in the reserves, was his country’s player in the world cup, almost kept Scunthorpe up last year is good after all.

  6. Paul C

    Poor old Simon is an easy target as far as transfers go. In fairness to the bloke he is working with a Conference (North) budget so he gets it wrong every now and then .

    • Dje

      I’m not that sure I have that much sympathy for him. If he want’s to do wonders on a Conference (North) budget and receive respect for it, then he should become a Conference North manager.

      As far as we are aware, there is no financial danger to the club. Our debts are less than most, and our turnover higher. Our season tickets and standard tickets are the most expensive in the league and our wage bill far form the highest. We have no logical reason to have a Conference North transfer and wage budget (as you well know) so to accept it as such I find Grayson complicit with Bates.

      Should he challenge him for money money? Yes. Why doesn’t he? Because he might lose his job outright or certainly lose his job security. He’d be far more respected if he stood up to Bates over wages, transfers in and transfers out. And if he got sacked for that? I’d have thought his reputation with the club in the long-run would be secured. It aint at the moment.

  7. Bill Tate

    Signing dozens of players and only finding half a dozen decent ones does not
    signify a manager who is a good judge of talent.When we do find a good one,he doesnt play for us but gets shipped out
    to another team without a decent call backclause.Very poor management of such a large club and all his self chosen right hand men are out of their depth too.

  8. chareose

    Agree with Paul C, he is looking for bargain basement players with zero cash to spend so how can we judge….but i have to say Gary Mac had a far better eye for talent and how to bring it through….. Clayton and Nunez may have been the missing ingredient last season but we will never know……and yes i have to say I dont think Grayson is that clever to be honest hence the fact hes reactionary rather proactive

  9. normangunston

    perhaps not the most glamorous signing, but Paul Connolly was a fairly solid player who held down the RB slot all season (I know, I’m reaching a bit, but he probably did more over the whole season than Lloyd Sam, say).

  10. trueyorxman

    Sunday Times, which last week mentioned Browns signing 24hrs before anyone else, today says Stockdale has signed a contract extension with Fulham and is on his way to Elland Road this week on a season long loan. Now that would be one of Graysons best signings

  11. Carlosioso

    The obvious choice is gradel (who i voted for) but i really rate lloyd sam. He was our best player untill he got injured, he really put the effort in. If he can capture his form from the start of last season he’ll do well for us!! Mot!!

  12. Mikey

    Lloyd Sam!!
    He is awful.
    Yet another abysmal Grayson Signing.
    Sam will flatter to deceive again and again.A real League 1 player who will find himself back there with LUFC if Grayson does not bring in the seven quality players desperately needed within the next three weeks!

  13. CJ

    I agree with Mikey. How the hell can you have Lloyd Sam in Grayson best signings list. He’s done bugger all for us.It’s clear Grayson doesn’t rate him cos he’s never had a run in the team.
    Ps. Surely Kasper is amonst Grayson’s top signings?

    • TSS

      You two clearly don’t see Leeds very often. The lad was incredible for the first half of last season, notching several assists and a couple of goals. People were actually questioning whether Snoddy would be able to get back in the team at one point. It was only through injury he was ever dropped.

      Short memories some fans.

  14. Si

    What a load of rubbish re Sam. He was our best player att the start of last season. He only couldn’t get back in the team because he was a winger!!

    I sometimes wonder what you clowns see that I don’t

  15. garyt

    time is running out my friends, no smith bowyer woodgate, a 34 year old who has taken a drop in wages when will bates learn the club name itself is not enough to bring people here, they want money , would you work at a place for ten k a week or b place for 15k a week, i know which!do you ? cos thats whats happening,we still need a left back parker is too slow ,another centre half, commanding, a midfielde playmaker oh how lee bowyer would have done and could of brought johnny howson on too,it aint gonna happen folks its seventh again if were lucky and it aint graysons fault, but i do think it is time he questioned why mr Bates is putting all the money into the west stand not the players, its bottom championship and top league one players coming to the mighty leeds im afraid, you know the chairmans name and his address, Elland rd beeston Leeds 11,get writing voice your anger and feelings, the only way to beat this greedy clown is with your feet , tell him we will all boycott unless the brass he is getting from OUR KIDS HE IS SELLING GOES BACK INTO THE TEAM NOT YORKSHIRE F…… RADIO AND THE EAST STAND boxes so wealthy people can watch rubbish we need five more decent players including a new no 1 and from what i hear he will be on loan!get writing leeds loyal fans now please.

  16. TSS

    Schmeichel was considered for those of you that asked, but his record was dismal. I don’t care how bad the defence is, the keeper must take some responsibility when you concede that many.

    We did make a profit on him though, so I suppose for that reason alone he was a good signing.

    • Colin

      Let’s see how many he concedes at leicester.

      Same keeper. Different defence.

      He’ll do well.

  17. normangunston

    A Charlton supporting mate of mine told me when we signed Lloyd Sam that he was talented but a 65 minute player. And so it proved – I doubt he finished a game for us last season. Hopefully the gym work he’s said to have done in the pre season will bear fruit.

  18. steve underwood

    For all the Grayson haters out there look at were the club was when he took over 9th in league one to now 7th in championship plus beat man utd at old trafford only just lost to spurs,liverpool and were a couple of mins from beating aresenal not too bad me thinks

  19. Will23

    That there are so few in this list says it all really about why Bates is right to keep a tight reign on Grayson’s budget.

    Aside from Grayson’s high miss-rate, general football economics demonstrate Bates is right to control spending.

    The fact that we are also at the start of a Greater Depression – yes, the financial credit crunch has been merely a soft prelude to the fast oncoming currency/sovereign debt crises, – means there is worse, much worse, to come in this Labour-caused messed up economy of ours.

    Football clubs (& fans) have been far too charitable towards players for twenty years or so and it is time this ended.

    Got to agree with Bates view on this point. It’s time to drive down player wages and fast.

    Attendances are more than likely to crash through the floor over the next five years as economic pain strikes the fan harder than we can probably ever imagine.

    And in five years clubs will be going bust every week unless the profit/loss & cash flow is actually taken notice of sooner rather than later.

    As well as players, fans need to face up to football financial realism.

    We are all in for some very hard times, if not so already.


    I think Schmeichel is a good shout. Signed for free and left with a healthy profit and did ok last season.

    Gradel has turned into a gem, but schmeicel was a good bit if business.

    I’m worried about Bates ‘bragging’ about telling an agent to get lost after he dare try negotiating a good deal on behalf of his client. That’s his job Bates you nob!

    It’s sounds to me like it was Lonergan, so we have chosen not to sign a player we wanted to spite his agent for daring to negotiate. Is that really backing Grayson in the transfer Market?

    • Matt BB

      Spot on, it isnt backing the manager at all. Stick to your word in business, dont act like a child!

  21. Dave

    Do not completely agree. Richard Naylor was a better signing than Sam Sodje and Sanchez Watt was better than Lloyd Sam but the others fair enough.
    Michael Brown could prove to be the best signing Grayson has made – exactly what we were missing.

  22. Dr Zen

    Some Leeds fans just live in a different world from the rest of us. Grayson’s signings have on the whole been very decent and his handling of players okay. Sure, his loan signings were on the whole meh, but some certainly underperformed. Ask any Sunderland fan about McCartney and they’d say he’s at least a decent Championship player; Watt was quite highly rated at Arse; Livermore promising at Spurs. We were basically one bad result from the playoffs and maybe five million quid from being good enough to go up. We have the nucleus of a decent side and that’s down to Grayson.

  23. michael horspool

    what about kasper could he make the list, and shane higgs who did well and showed his worth when he got injured and the hunter (ankerganran) came back into the team and nearly cost us promotion proving he is the worst keeper ever to wear the keepers shirt


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