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Leeds got it right with Max Gradel sale

Leeds United endured untold struggles in their desperate attempt to return to the Premier League, and in 2020 after a 16-year wait, it was finally achieved.

As they were building towards it in the five or ten years leading up to 2020, many names might just ring a bell when mentioned due to the fleeting nature of their time at Elland Road.

It may even surprise many that they were even there at all.

Would Max Gradel have been a success had he stayed at Leeds?





With Max Gradel, he was both renowned at the time and a forgotten man in Yorkshire, especially with how his career panned out in the years following his departure.

Initially signed for just £200k from Leicester City, he actually enjoyed some of the best football of his tumultuous career for Leeds.

In 84 appearances, he scored 25 times and assisted 13, before forcing a move through back to France.

Having cited a desire to return to his home country as his reason for leaving, the club accepted the £3m bid and washed their hands of the Ivorian.

It therefore made it all the more baffling when just four years later he would return to English football with AFC Bournemouth. Whilst his £7m fee earned them a sizable financial addition due to a clause in his initial sale, to see someone who forced a move away from Yorkshire return to England was frustrating.

Fortunately, that frustration melted when he went on to underperform for the Cherries. He scored just once in his debut season as they avoided the drop, and would fail to score or assist the season following as his side rose to a sensational ninth.

His displays led journalist Godfred Akoto Boafo to label him “poor offensively”.

He did not contribute to the successes of either of these seasons and would return to France permanently in 2018.

The 34-year-old has since been playing his football in Turkey and has just two goals and one assist this season in the Super Lig.

It marks the strange downfall of a career that never really seemed set.

Leeds can feel happy in themselves that they managed to sell for an impressive fee on what they first purchased him for, marking a 1400% profit.

They certainly got it right with this deal, and whilst his career faltered, the Whites have since returned to the Premier League without him.