Leeds United were once a club who, under the ownership of Massimo Cellino, did not particularly appear to have any sort of strategy in the transfer market, with a host of players being bought and subsequently sold by the Italian – many of whom had little chance to settle and impress at Elland Road.
One such player who certainly falls into this category is Billy Sharp, the then-28-year-old centre-forward who joined the Whites from Southampton for a reported fee in the region of £270k back in the summer of 2014, before being sold to Sheffield United for £500k just 12 months later.
And, while it is true that the Sheffield-born striker failed to make much of an impact at Leeds, scoring five goals and registering one assist over his 35 appearances for the club, considering the quite astonishing Indian summer the 36-year-old has enjoyed in his career since, Cellino’s decision to part with the forward very much looks to have been a shocker.
Indeed, after bagging 21 goals and providing seven assists over his 44 League One appearances for the Blades in 2015/16, the striker fired his hometown side to promotion the following season – scoring a whopping 30 goals and registering eight assists over his 46 League One outings in 2016/17.
The £270k-rated talent would repeat this trick just two years later, as, after notching 13 goals and providing four assists in 34 Championship fixtures in 2017/18, the player who Paul Merson dubbed a “goal machine” once again fired United to promotion the following season – bagging 23 goals and registering four assists over 40 league outings in 2018/19.
And, despite the £16k-per-week hitman scoring just five goals over his 41 Premier League outings in both 2019/20 and 2020/21 – with the Blades suffering relegation back to the second tier in their second season in the top flight – the veteran forward still proved he has what it takes in the Championship last term, bagging 14 goals and seven assists over 39 league outings in 2021/22.
As such, while it is true that Leeds eventually made their own way to the Premier League in 2020, considering the fact that Sharp scored a total of 113 goals after his exit from the club, there is an argument to be made that Whites could have earned promotion much sooner had Cellino kept hold of Sharp – with the Italian’s call on the 36-year-old very much having proven a shocker.