Leeds' 10 most expensive transfers of all time

Suraj Radia
Suraj Radia
  • Updated: 9 Nov 2023 15:29 GMT
  • 6 min read
Raphinha, Barcelona, 2022/23
© ProShots

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 thrilling side, Elland Road has always welcomed mavericks and stars aplenty.

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READ MORE: Man Utd’s 10 most expensive transfers of all time

They have not spent as much as some of England's richest clubs, but their top 10 list of transfers is still rather lucrative.

Below, FootballTransfers runs through the 10 most expensive signings Leeds have made in over 100 years of existence.

READ MORE: Chelsea's 10 most expensive transfers of all time

10. Robbie Keane - €18m (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 €10.5m as they desperately tried to pay the bills.

9. Raphinha - €18.6m (from Stade Rennais, 2020)

After an great 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.

Raphinha at Barcelona
© ProShots - Raphinha at Barcelona

The Brazilian was just as brilliant in his second season, and after interest from Chelsea and Arsenal, he joined Barcelona in the 2022 summer transfer window.

8. Diego Llorente - €20m (from Real Sociedad, 2020)

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 continued to play a vital role for Bielsa and later Jesse Marsch.

However, he joined Roma on loan in 2023 following Leeds' relegation to the Championship.

7. Jean-Kevin Augustin - €21m (from RB Leipzig, 2020)

After a six-month loan move to Elland Road, Jean-Kevin Augustin returned to RB Leipzig, but Leeds were ordered to pay €21m for his signature due to their promotion to the Premier League.

Jean-Kevin Augustin at Monaco
© ProShots - Jean-Kevin Augustin at Monaco

He never played for the club again having joined Nantes on a free transfer. Augustin only mustered three games for Leeds on loan anyway, so it was a very expensive transfer mistake.

6. Luis Sinisterra - €25m (from Feyenoord, 2022)

Leeds signed winger Luis Sinisterra as a replacement for the mercurial Raphinha, paying Feyenoord €25m for the Colombian.

Sinisterra immediately became a crowd favourite, netting three times in his first six games for the club, including an array of long-range stunners.

He scored seven goals in total during his debut Leeds campaign, before joining Bournemouth ahead of the 2023-24 season.

5. Rio Ferdinand - €26m (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.

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

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.

4. Georginio Rutter - €28m (from Hoffenheim, 2023)

Georginio Rutter arrived in the January transfer window of 2023 for a fee that could become a club-record if various add-ons are met. For now though, he is Leeds' fourth-most expensive signing in history.

The 20-year-old Frenchman joined from Hoffenheim, where he had scored two goals and created two more in 15 Bundesliga outings in the first half of the campaign.

He did not score a single Premier League goal in 11 league appearances for Leeds as they suffered relegation to the Championship.

3. Daniel James - €29.1m (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.

— Leeds United (@LUFC) July 30, 2023

However given Daniel James' age, the lightning-quick Wales international has time on his side to pay back the large investment in him. He spent the 2022-23 season on loan at Fulham, but returned to Leeds following their relegation.

2. Rodrigo - €30m (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.

However, he netted 13 league goals in his final season at Leeds and can't be blamed for their relegation. Rodrigo joined Qatari side Al-Rayyan SC in the 2023 summer window.

1. Brenden Aaronson - €32.8m (from RB Salzburg, 2022

Leeds smashed their club record with the signing of forward Brenden Aaronson from RB Salzburg on a five-year deal in the summer of 2022.

Brenden Aaronson
© ProShots - Brenden Aaronson

The midfielder netted early on in his Leeds career against Chelsea to repay some of the large outlay but after a bright start to the season his influence waned and he was often found on the bench.

The USMNT star joined Union Berlin on loan in 2023.

The 10 most expensive Leeds signings of all time

1. Brendon AaronsonRB Salzburg€32.8m2022
2. RodrigoValencia€30m2020
3. Daniel JamesMan Utd€29.1m2021
4. Georginio RutterHoffenheim€28m2023
5. Rio FerdinandWest Ham€26m2000
6. Luis SinisterraFeyenoord€25m2022
7. Jean-Kevin AugustinRB Leipzig€21m2020
8. Diego LlorenteReal Sociedad€20m2020
9. RaphinhaRennes€18.6m2020
10. Robbie KeaneInter€18m2001

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