Leeds United were relegated from the Premier League last season and are now flying high in the Championship.
An instant return to the top flight could be on the cards, however, their initial relegation back to the second tier could have been avoided.
During his time at the club, director of football Victor Orta made some gut-wrenching decisions and the most costly of those saw him sack Marcelo Bielsa and replace him with Jesse Marsch.
The American didn’t endear himself in a positive light to the Elland Road faithful and his downfall in West Yorkshire began with a questionable recruitment strategy.
Whilst failing to replace Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha stole the headlines, it was a decision to sell an academy graduate that went under the radar as Leif Davis was sold to Ipswich Town for £1m in July 2022.
Leif Davis Leeds statistics
Leeds captured the promising full-back from League Two side Morecambe in 2018 and was instantly thrown into Carlos Corberan’s under-23 side.
The Yorkshire club, who had just finished 13th in the Championship, had already snapped up Sam Dalby (Leyton Orient), Ryan Edmondson (York City) and Jordan Stevens (Forest Green) from lower league clubs.
After making an instant impression in the Whites’ underage groups as an explosive left-back, he was promoted to the first-team setup by the newly appointed Bielsa and debuted in the dramatic 3-2 victory over Aston Villa in December 2018.
Despite making his major breakthrough, an injury towards the end of that campaign restricted him to mere late cameos against Derby County, Rotherham United and Swansea City.
Leeds, after finishing third, lost to Frank Lampard’s Derby County in the Play-Off semi-finals.
Whilst they would secure promotion to the Premier League during a season which was curtailed by Covid-19 in the following, Davis would only feature across two starts and three substitute appearances.
The youngster realised that his best chance of playing regularly was elsewhere, moving to Championship side Bournemouth on loan in the 2021/22 campaign, where he made 15 appearances before sealing a permanent switch to the Tractor Boys in 2022.
Leif Davis’ record at Ipswich Town
Once described by Bielsa as “a great player, full of future, resources and skills”, Davis certainly inflicted those talents onto an Ipswich side vying for promotion out of League One.
An incredible source of quality down the left flank, the Englishman amassed a whopping 14 assists – the most of any player in the division – as his side were promoted back to the second tier.
In Kieran McKenna’s swashbuckling system, the flying full-back utilizes his explosive pace, effortless ball-carrying and devastating ammunition down the left wing.
Ipswich have taken to the Championship like a duck to water, sitting level on points with Leicester City in the automatic promotion places while Davis has made a huge contribution to their fast start, accumulating seven assists in his opening 15 matches.
Championship players with the most assists
Leif Davis (Ipswich)
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (Leicester)
Crysencio Summerville (Leeds)
Jaden Philogene (Hull City)
Georginio Rutter (Leeds)
All stats sourced via BBC Sport
The “animal”, as dubbed by former manager Scott Parker, has produced a staggering 24 assists from left back in 54 appearances for the East Anglian side and his extraordinary output places him as the arguably most creative player in the division.
By contrast, Leeds’ current starting full-backs, Archie Gray and Sam Byram, have only managed one assist between them in 30 matches, with Leeds ruing the decision to sell such a quality asset on the cheap.