With the addition to the squad of Matthew Pennington and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, two players who come highly rated and will probably not be staying beyond the end of the season, I am going to take a look back at the top 5 loanees who never joined permanently after completing their spell at the club.
5 – Radostin Kishishev
Joining during one of the worst periods of the club’s history, Kishishev joined on loan from Charlton after falling out of favour since the departure of Alan Curbishley. Wise swooped to bring the Bulgarian to Leeds after injury ruled Shaun Derry out for the remainder of the season. Kishishev showed himself to be a bright spark during a dark time as he provided some back-bone to a side that sorely needed it. Kishishev only featured 10 times but made enough of an impact that when he returned the next season it was a celebrated signing.
4 – Michael Gray
Exactly the sort of player Leeds fans could get behind, Michael Gray came in during our first season in the Championship after relegation from the Premier League. Taking over from Stephen Crainey, who Leeds fans had not really taken to since his arrival, Gray was a hard working full back who loved a tackle. He also wasn’t afraid to get forward and support the attack and it was hoped that he would join on a permanent basis at the end of the season. Instead, Leeds opted to sign Dan Harding. That may not have been a great move.
3 – Liam Miller
Initially joining the club on a three month loan during the 05/06 season, Miller’s loan was extended for the remainder of the season after establishing himself in the middle of midfield. Miller’s finest moment came in the 4-3 win against Southampton. Having been trailing 3-0 at half time, Leeds sprang to life with 20 minutes left. Paul Butler, Robbie Blake and David Healy all scored to put Leeds level and with four minutes to go, Liam Miller stepped up to score the winner and send the travelling Leeds fans wild. His time at Leeds would end with the Play-Off Final defeat at the Millennium Stadium against Watford.
2 – Dougie Freedman
Joining on loan in March, Freedman would provide additional fire power after forwards such as Elding and Constantine failed to deliver. He would soon take Kandol’s place as Jermaine Beckford’s strike partner and he would score six goals in 14 appearances. He would score a number of important goals, including a goal against Carlisle in the first leg of the Play-Off semi-final that kept Leeds in the game. One concern for Leeds fans though was the lack of goals from Beckford after his arrival. Freedman featured in the Play-Off Final defeat against Doncaster but would return to Crystal Palace afterwards.
1 – Kyle Bartley
After years of lurching from leaky defence to leaky defence, Kyle Bartley arrived in the summer of 2016. Spending a number of years out on loan and making sporadic appearances for Arsenal and Swansea, Garry Monk brought Bartley in from his former club to become a first choice central defender with Leeds. He was soon joined by Swedish international Pontus Jannson and the two struck up a formidable partnership. One that Leeds fans were able to depend on. Another player Leeds were hoping on retaining, it was soon made clear that he would be in Swansea’s plans following their escape from relegation.