Leeds' 10 most expensive transfers of all time

Stefan Bienkowski
Stefan Bienkowski Updated: 8 Feb 2022 15:08 CET 9 min read
Daniel James signs for Leeds from Man Utd

Leeds United are one of English football’s most historical and best-supported clubs and as such they’ve made a number of fascinating signings over the years.

Whether it be for Don Revie's legendary team of the 1970s or Marcelo Bielsa’s new-look side, Elland Road has always welcomed mavericks and stars aplenty.

Here is a list of the 10 most expensive signings the club have made in their 101 years of existence.

10. Robin Koch - £11.7m (from Freiburg, 2020)

Despite having a rough debut for the club in a 4-3 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield, in which he gave away a penalty for the opening goal and lost Virgil Van Dijk for the second, Robin Koch was a regular starter for Leeds until a knee injury ruled him out for much of his first season in English football.

Unfortunately the injury forced Koch to get knee surgery and the former Bundesliga prospect has yet to really properly recover from it.

9. Junior Firpo - £13.5m (from Barcelona, 2021)

A number of clubs were able to benefit from Barcelona’s financial crisis in 2021 but few would have been as fortunate as Leeds when they managed to pick up Junior Firpo for a relatively small fee of £13.5m.

Although Firpo is still waiting for his first win in the Premier League with his new club, he has adapted to the English top flight with relative ease and already looks like a fantastic addition to Marcelo Bielsa’s gung-ho side.

8. Robbie Fowler - £15.12m (from Liverpool, 2001)

After Michael Owen and Emile Heskey pushed him out of Liverpool’s starting XI, Robbie Fowler made the move to Leeds in 2001 in search of regular game time. And to an extent that’s what he got at Leeds.

In his first season at the club the England striker scored no less than 12 league goals, despite only joining the club in December. Then a further three in the following campaign, before he was sold on to Manchester City at the height of the club’s financial demise.

7. Helder Costa - £15.9m (from Wolves, 2021)

After joining the club on loan in the 2019/20 season and a full campaign in the English Championship which saw him bag five goals and eight assists, Helder Costa made a permanent move to Leeds for just under £16m.

However, after the club gained their promotion to the Premier League, Costa’s effectiveness began to wane and he was then loaned out to Valencia for the 2021/22 season following a top-flight campaign which saw him manage just three goals and three assists in 22 games.

6. Robbie Keane - £16.2m (from Inter, 2001)

Although Robbie Keane enjoyed an impressive start to life at Leeds with nine goals in his first 14 starts for the club, his second season saw him tumble down the pecking order at the club and his form suffered as a result.

After scoring just nine goals in 33 appearances, Leeds decided to cash in on their star striker for just £7m as they desperately tried to pay the bills.

5. Raphinha - £16.7m (from Stade Rennais, 2020)

After an impressive season in Ligue 1 which saw him bag nine goals and five assists, Raphinha made the move to Leeds and undoubtedly hit the ground running with no less than eight goals and 11 assists in all competitions in his first campaign.

The Brazilian has been just as brilliant in his second season, and is now wanted by some of Europe's biggest clubs ahead of the 2022 summer transfer window.

4. Diego Llorente - £18m (from Real Sociedad, 2000)

Although a terrible groin injury and then a frustrating hamstring injury ruled Diego Llorente out until February of his first season with Leeds, he did quickly establish himself as a first team regular in the second half of the 2020-21 season and he has continued to play a vital role in Bielsa’s team ever since as a talented and inspiring central defender.

Rio Ferdinand was the most expensive defender in the world when he joined Leeds

Rio Ferdinand was the most expensive defender in the world when he joined Leeds

3. Rio Ferdinand - £23.4m (from West Ham, 2000)

Rio Ferdinand made the move to Leeds in 2000 as not only a record signing for the club but also as the world’s most expensive defender. And he certainly lived up to the fee and the remarkable promise he’d shown at West Ham.

In just two years at the club Ferdinand became an integral part of the team that reached the Champions League semi-finals, before quickly being appointed as the club captain after just one season. Then, when the club hit financial turmoil, he was sold on to Manchester United.

2. Daniel James - £26.2m (from Man Utd, 2021)

Signed as a last-minute deal in the 2021 summer transfer window, many questions were asked about Leeds' decision to spend so big on a player who had largely struggled at Manchester United.

However given his young age, the lightning-quick Wales international has time on his side to pay back the large investment in him.

1. Rodrigo - £27m (from Valencia, 2020)

After scoring just seven goals in 34 games for Valencia in the 2019 season, the signing of Rodrigo for a club record fee in 2020 certainly raised some eyebrows among the club’s faithful supporters.

Unfortunately for the Spanish striker, his record in front of goal didn’t exactly improve in his first season in the Premier League, with just seven goals in 26 league appearances. In his second campaign, he has fared little better.