Championship

The one that got away: Jerzy Dudek and Leeds United

This article forms part of our The Ones That Got Away feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern take a look back at players linked with moves in the past, and see how they would have made an impact had they signed for the interested side.

Leeds United may have stepped up their efforts in trying to win promotion back to the Premier League in recent years and the addition of some quality individuals in recent memory will have only boosted their efforts in their quest.

The likes of Pablo Hernandez and Marcelo Bielsa are currently at Elland Road trying to make top-flight football a reality, whilst the likes of Pontus Jansson and Samu Saiz have tried and failed to make the desired impact.

Indeed, the club also turned to Kiko Casilla in January 2019, however, there was a chance that Leeds could have had another former Real Madrid shot-stopper between the sticks a lot earlier and, perhaps, help them return to the Premier League.

According to a report by the Yorkshire Evening Post (via Goal) in July 2011, Simon Grayson admitted that Jerzy Dudek was on his list of potential targets as he looked to replace Kasper Schmeichel.

“He’s on a list of players in that position who are available and might be a proposition. He’s one of half-a-dozen who are on the radar,” he said.

Indeed, the attempt to sign the experienced Poland international would have been an extremely ambitious swoop, however, Leeds have been able to prove that they can still attract some huge names to play at Elland Road, despite their current standing.

Dudek had a number of accolades including a Champions League title throughout his career, whilst the then-37-year-old may have been keen to have another season of competitive football as he had made just 12 appearances in his time at Real Madrid following his tenure at Liverpool.

Of course, his experience with the Reds would have meant he would have a better understanding of the English game and Leeds could have, perhaps, used that to their advantage, however, a move obviously failed to materialise as Dudek decided to retire (Red and White Kop fan forum).

As mentioned, Casilla has been entrusted with the responsibility to help keep their Championship opposition at bay in between the sticks and has largely performed – the 33-year-old has kept seven clean sheets in his 13 matches so far this season – although he has not been without his scary moments (Yorkshire Evening Post).

Like Dudek, the Spaniard has a number of personal accolades to his name, which may have appealed to Bielsa and Leeds when they signed him, whilst there would also have been a sense that it was a huge coup for the club when they acquired him from Real Madrid.

Although Casilla has not directly helped the Whites to finally achieve their aims of returning to the Premier League, perhaps he will be the La Liga outfit’s former ‘keeper to help them do it this season.

Leeds fans, did the club miss out on Dudek? Let us know your thoughts by sharing them in the comments section below!

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The one that got away: Jerzy Dudek and Leeds United
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