Victor Orta’s record at Leeds United has always divided opinion, especially in recent windows where recruitment has been lacklustre, to say the least.
Despite an injury-ravaged season, the Yorkshire giants failed to bolster Marcelo Bielsa’s playing squad with any additions in January and one damaging theme can be seen in the fact that they haven’t signed a central midfielder for eight successive windows now.
If your ambition is to remain competitive in the Premier League, then that sort of activity is far from good enough.
However, there is plenty to like about what he has done in recent years.
Raphinha is one shining example – having cost only £17m from Stade Rennes in 2020, he has emerged as a standout in the final third, particularly without the injured Patrick Bamford.
His worth is now thought to be in the region of £36m, so Leeds will make a substantial profit on him in the coming years.
And the Spanish supremo hasn’t only hit the jackpot with incomings as he has often made a shrewd decision when it comes to player sales, too, with Jack Clarke the perfect reminder.
Orta played quite the transfer masterclass there, albeit in hindsight.
In July 2019, the young winger joined Premier League outfit Tottenham Hotspur for around £10m plus add-ons, as per the BBC, and as part of the deal he remained at Elland Road on loan for the 2019/20 campaign.
By December, though, that temporary return was cut short due to a lack of game time. He was then sent out to then-Championship rivals Queens Park Rangers, where he also failed to make his mark.
His fortunes took a turn for the worse during another loan stint, this time at Stoke City. His season was ended abruptly due to an Achilles injury, whilst this season, he’s ended up in League One with northeast giants Sunderland.
In five appearances so far, two of which being starts, he has failed to deliver a single goal contribution, as per Transfermarkt, who now value him at a lowly £4.5m – a decrease in value of 55% since Orta sanctioned his departure nearly three years ago.
“He has got a great ability to glide past players. I don’t think I’ve seen a winger really as talented as that, where it looks effortless, just to take somebody on and he really does get you on the edge of your seat, he’s one of those exciting players,” once claimed Whites legend Noel Whelan back when Clarke came through the academy system at Thorp Arch.
Meanwhile, former Leeds assistant Carlos Corberan – now in charge of Huddersfield Town – once deemed the 21-year-old to be a “huge talent.”
His fall from grace as a one-time promising talent is certainly disappointing to see but from a business and financial standpoint, it was an absolute masterstroke from Orta and co.
For all of his failings at Elland Road, it’s moves like this that should keep the fans onside, that’s for sure.