Leeds United: Players who have moved on to bigger and better things after leaving Elland Road

SAM BYRAM seems like he is on the cusp of a move to West Ham after they agreed a deal with Leeds over his transfer.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 19th January 2016, 11:36 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th January 2016, 11:44 am
Fabian Delph.  Picture: Bruce Rollinson
Fabian Delph. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

There is always debate over whether leaving Leeds is to the benefit of players. Doubts about first team football tend to be the first thing to crop up, followed by the perceived size of various clubs, especially those who are battling against relegation.

It’s hard to imagine now, with the club firmly planted in mid-table, but there have traditionally been suggestions that the Whites would pass players ‘on the way back up’.

Michael Woods and Tom Taiwo are often cited as examples of players who made the wrong decision in leaving Leeds. The duo joined Chelsea for a combined compensation fee of around £5 million but never featured for the Stamford Bridge club.

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Bradley Johnson, right. Picture Bruce Rollinson

They were, however, youth players, and at first team level it’s quite easy to find examples where moving away has been nothing but a positive for the footballer.

What hope does Byram have? Here we look at six players over the last 10 years that have benefitted from making the switch elsewhere ...

Fabian Delph

Fabian Delph is a tailor-made example of the benefits of leaving Elland Road for pastures new. There was even a timely reminder as Byram was left out of Leeds’s squad against Sheffield Wednesday.

Jonny Howson.

Only two hours later Delph was named man of the match in Manchester City’s game against Crystal Palace, having opened the scoring in their 4-0 victory.

Delph may have taken a circuitous route to the top of the Premier League, including a loan spell back at Leeds during injury issues, but after leaving Aston Villa to join the Manchester side he looks nailed on to win the title in the next few years and further first-team football also seems to beckon.

He also captained Villa to an FA Cup final last season.

Jonny Howson

Robert Snodgrass, right. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

The midfielder from Morley joined Norwich with his contract winding down. Seem familiar?

There was an assumption that Leeds would be in the Premier League pretty swiftly when Howson left, and that the Norfolk club would be in the Championship fairly soon after.

Howson has only spent one of the last three-and-a-half seasons out of the top flight, while Leeds have been in the Premier League for none.

Danny Rose

Bradley Johnson, right. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Signed for only £1m by Spurs in the midst of Leeds’s administration nightmare, Danny Rose took a while to settle at White Hart Lane.

He became a first-team regular after a loan spell at Sunderland and has barely been out of the shirt since, playing 75 times in the Premier League.

Rose captained Spurs during the FA Cup game against Leicester City on January 10 this year and is an outside bet for a place at Euro 2016.

Kasper Schmeichel

Scmeichel never quite convinced Leeds fans but his age never seemed to be taken into account.

He was sold to Leicester City as he was seen as overvalued for a goalkeeper and his contract was running down. He now finds himself keeping net for a Foxes side currently sitting second in the Premier League.

Jonny Howson.

At the end of this bizarre season he might actually possess a Premier League winner’s medal. Admittedly you wouldn’t bet on it, but few could have predicted that outcome when he departed Elland Road.

Robert Snodgrass

Much like Howson, Snodgrass joined Norwich City after deciding that there was no real likelihood that Leeds would earn promotion to the Premier League in the near future.

He impressed in his time with Norwich before suffering a horrific injury after making a £6m move to Hull City – a fee thought to be at least three times the fee paid to Leeds.

At a guess, he would not currently be plying his trade in the Championship had he not suffered that injury.

Bradley Johnson

Another player who moved to the Canaries after Leeds let his contract run down, Johnson never wanted more than parity with other regular first team players. Norwich snapped him up on a free after promotion and he impressed in 142 games for them over four seasons.

There was even talk of an England cap at one point in his time at Carrow Road, although that never panned out and he joined Derby for a club record £6m fee on transfer deadline day in September.

Tom Lees

The defender’s last season at Elland Road was a poor one compared to the heights he set himself when he made his debut.

Being an academy graduate also seemed to count against Lees, with the expectation of the fans causing them to respond hugely negatively to any mistake.

He joined Sheffield Wednesday for a nominal fee in the summer of 2014 and within six months he was being linked with moves to the Premier League.

Despite his current injury, Lees is widely considered to be one of the better central defenders in the Championship.

Robert Snodgrass, right. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.