Upon signing for Leeds United, despite boasting a great deal of early career promise, Patrick Bamford looked as if he may be a footballer who would never truly fill his potential – a far cry from the player that the centre-forward has become under Marcelo Bielsa at Elland Road.
Indeed, having been on Chelsea’s books from 2012 until 2017, the 28-year-old spent a huge portion of his career being loaned from club to club, with his more notable campaigns coming for MK Dons in the first half of the 2013/14 season (14 goals over 23 League One appearances), Derby County in the second half of 2013/14 (eight goals over 21 Championship fixtures) and Middlesbrough in 2014/15 (17 goals over 38 Championship appearances).
However, there were also a number of unsuccessful spells at clubs such as Crystal Palace, Norwich City and Burnley, with the forward failing to score across 16 Premier League appearances for those three clubs – something which may have cast doubt as to whether Bamford was cut out for top-flight football.
However, following his initial £7m move to Leeds from Middlesbrough back in 2018, this is a reputation that the 28-year-old has massively overcome, with Bielsa turning Bamford into an incredibly prolific striker.
Indeed, over his 22 Championship appearances in the Argentine’s first season at the club, the forward bagged nine goals, registered two assists and created one big chance for his teammates – returns which saw the hitman earn a seasonal SofaScore match rating of 6.91.
Bamford continued his upward trajectory the following term, bagging 16 goals, providing two assists and creating six big chances over his 45 Championship fixtures in the Whites’ promotion-winning campaign – figures which saw the striker earn an average SofaScore match rating of 6.88.
The £35k-per-week 28-year-old also took the step up to Premier League football comfortably in his stride over his 38 appearances last season, scoring a whopping 17 goals, registering seven assists and creating five big chances for his teammates, as well as earning a seasonal SofaScore match rating of 7.01.
As such, with Bamford now boasting a Transfermarkt valuation of £19.8m – 5.5 times his £3.6m worth at the time of his move to Leeds – as well as being the joint-fourth top goalscorer in the 2020/21 Premier League, it is evident that Victor Orta struck gold in 2018 when signing the player who Jurgen Klopp dubbed an “exceptional” talent.