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Lucas Radebe was one of Leeds’ best ever signings

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Leeds were one of the best teams in England.

For football fans of a certain age it may be hard to imagine United as a genuine force in the Premier League, but back in the day, Elland Road was the home for some of the world’s top talent.

Leeds spent big in order to get to the top, splashing out eight-figure fees on the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Robbie Fowler, but perhaps their best player of that era was signed for just £250,000.

Lucas Radebe was an unlikely hero at Leeds, but by the time he hung up his boots, he was a bona fide club legend.

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Radebe’s journey in football is one of the strangest you’re likely to ever hear, but Leeds were the beneficiaries of uncovering a top-talent who was seemingly never meant to become a world-class player.

Bafflingly, the South African started his career in his home country as a goalkeeper, before moving into the midfield, then finally finding his home at centre-back.

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Even after he joined Leeds he was something of an unknown commodity, and once again he was played in an unfamiliar position as Howard Wilkinson handed him his debut on the right-wing.

The defender was brought to Yorkshire in 1994, but he was reportedly only brought in as a bi-product of the Whites’ interest in Phillip Masinga, signed in order to keep their new signing happy in his new surroundings.

As it happened, Radebe turned out to be the better of the pair, staying at Leeds for over a decade, playing 263 games and lining up as the club’s captain over 100 times.

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With ‘the Chief’ costing Leeds just £250k, after 263 games for the club it works out that United paid around £950 per appearance, and that is simply unrivalled value for money.

Nobody expected Radebe to be the star he grew to be, but bringing him in as a sweetener for Masinga turned out to be one of the luckiest transfer moves Leeds ever made.

In other news, Leeds fans’ complaints nine months ago are looking more and more justified.

Article title: Lucas Radebe was one of Leeds’ best ever signings

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