Leeds United have rightfully gotten all sorts of credit for landing one of the bargains of the season in the £17m signing of Raphinha, but we have to argue that Stuart Dallas is amongst the best signings the club has ever made.
Dallas made a few headlines after scoring against Southampton on Tuesday evening, but this is a player who’s deserved mass plaudits for a long time now.
To say Dallas was one of Leeds’ most important players in earning promotion would be an understatement, he started 45 games last term and played in almost every position on the park, and it’s almost impossible to believe that he only started 12 league games in Bielsa’s first season at the club.
He’s continued to be a Leeds stalwart this season, starting every game, and he’s flourished in the Premier League, scoring five goals and grabbing two assists in the process.
Dallas cost just £1.3m when he was signed from Brentford back in 2015, and it’s fair to say that he’s now worth a lot more than that.
He can play to Premier League standard in five different positions, on either wing, in both full-back positions and in central midfield, and that sort of versatility is so rare in a player.
Could you imagine landing someone like that for just £1.3m in this day and age? And he’s not just a utility player either, he’s quickly becoming an absolute star.
His haul of five goals makes him United’s joint-third highest scorer this season, and that’s while mainly playing as a left-back.
Perhaps his talents are best summarised by Marcelo Bielsa’s comments on him earlier this season.
“For me, he is a very generous player, very brave. He participates a lot in the game,” Bielsa said.
“He doesn’t have a problem with either foot. He can play in the three different positions on the pitch: defending in the middle and in attack.
“Apart from that, he has one attribute which is the best you don’t see: that is a very good team-mate and an impeccable professional.”
Raphinha joining the club for £17m was an unbelievable bargain, but in terms of value for money, you may have to look back as far as Lucas Radebe to find a signing as good as Stuart Dallas for just £1.3m.