Tom Lees’ departure to Sheffield Wednesday has caused a mixed reaction from Leeds United supporters.
The 23-year-old defender was confirmed as a Wednesday player today after he passed a medical this morning and Leeds fans seemed divided on the transfer.
The main issue is not that he is leaving, but the fact that he is has been allowed to move away from Elland Road on a free transfer, with most Whites fans feeling that they could have got some money for the young defender.
Lees has a good CV for a player of his age – with England youth caps and a large number of Championship appearances – and it comes as some surprise that he did not command a fee.
Indeed, even Wednesday boss, Stuart Gray, appeared a little shocked that he had been able to pick up Lees for nothing.
He said, when revealing that Lees was set to be announced today: “A contract is agreed and the terms have been agreed."
"We are getting a fantastic player on a free transfer and it is now just subject to a medical.”
Leeds do not particularly need the money after Ross McCormack’s move to Fulham earlier this summer landed them an £11 million windfall, but there is still a sense that the Owls have managed to get Lees below market value.
The current market is notably inflated and many lower-division players have moved for big money this season and, whilst Lees was never likely to command too high a fee, it does seem a bit of anomoly when compared to the prices paid for some of his peers.
In a good example of this fact, the man Leeds have lined up to replace their departing defender, Liam Cooper, is commanding a £1 million fee after only playing League Two football last season.
Lees was, however, one of the club’s top earners and they will be grateful to get his contract off the wage bill – especially as he was unlikely to be a regular first-team starter in the upcoming campaign.
It is because of this that the move has created mixed reviews, with some wanting more money for the 23-year-old and with others simply glad to see the back of a defender whose development has plateaued in recent seasons.
The best tweets on Lees’ departure can be seen below.
Lees is under contact at Leeds until 2016, England U21 last summer. You'd have thought he was worth a fee.— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) July 31, 2014
Lees lasted so long at #lufc because of his academy connection. Anyone who watched at all last year cannot possibly say he was good enough.— Chris Rider (@riderchris1) July 31, 2014
Stop making excuses for Lees (Warnock killed his confidence). He was not good enough for a promotion-seeking club. #lufc— O.C.R (@XVideXInfraX) July 31, 2014
I'm a little gutted to lose Lees. Still young enough to learn with the right coaching. Good luck to him #LUFC— Al Fandango (@al_fandango) July 31, 2014
Not sure what to make of Tom Lees' departure from #LUFC especially on a free. Think he has potential just needed a more settled environment.— David Wilkinson (@thedwilkinson) July 31, 2014
Extremely disappointed at the 'sale' of Tom Lees. He may not have had the best of seasons, but he's young and had a very bright future #lufc— Becky HMN (@Becky_Doggett) July 31, 2014
Selling Tom Lees for free is an absolute disgrace. #lufc— Jason Pourzand (@jasonpourzand) July 31, 2014
Fee or free who cares? Lees had potential, his confidence was destroyed by Warnock from which he never recovered. All the best smiler #lufc— Welsh white (@williamsk67) July 31, 2014