Leeds United’s Ethan Ampadu is proving to be one of – if not the best – signing of the summer for the Whites, with the Welshman impressing to such a degree that The Athletic journalist Simon Johnson believes his former side Chelsea would have done well to retain his services during the transfer window.
The first arrival of many for Leeds after a mass exodus of players in the summer trading period, the acquisition of Ampadu set the tone of the transfer window as a whole. The newly-ratified owners of the West Yorkshire club, 49ers Enterprises, were leaving nothing to chance when it came to securing an immediate return to the Premier League for their side.
Kicking off proceedings by signing Ampadu for what now appears a steal of a fee at just £7m signalled to the Elland Road faithful that the new custodians of their beloved club were keen on building a side which had considerable strength in depth.
How has Ethan Ampadu got on at Leeds?
Ostensibly brought in as a replacement for Tyler Adams in the defensive midfield berth, Ampadu has excelled in his performances for manager Daniel Farke so far this season, having featured in all 30 matches that his side have played across all competitions.
Whilst doubts did exist concerning the Welshman’s track record with relegation when it comes to the sides he has featured previously for on loan, those fears were put to rest on the season’s opening day when Ampadu put in a commanding, composed midfield display in a 2-2 home draw against Cardiff.
The 23-year-old has gone from strength to strength since, even captaining his side in their last two fixtures with the absence of usual skipper Pascal Struijk due to injury.
What has been said?
In an article assessing every outgoing from Stamford Bridge over the summer, Johnson identifies that during the summer Chelsea spent a combined total of £176 million on defensive midfielders alone.
Given that the Blues currently sit ninth in the Premier League standings, Johnson argues that owner Todd Boehly’s money would perhaps have been better spent elsewhere, and that the London side would have been much better off handing opportunities to the likes of Ampadu instead.
“Leeds feel like they got a really good deal, and it is hard to argue to the contrary,” Johnson wrote.
“When you consider Chelsea spent £23.5million last summer on Lesley Ugochukwu, who has shown little to justify that fee as yet, questions could be asked whether they would have been better off giving Ampadu a chance instead.”
Is Johnson right?
Given the consistent quality of Ampadu’s performances for Leeds so far this season, there is a definite argument to be made that he represents the best signing that the Whites made during the summer.
In this regard it is hard to dispute Johnson’s claim, yet there is also a counter argument to be made that there is a significant gulf in quality between the top-flight and the Championship.
Whether Ampadu would be able to cut it in defensive midfield at a higher level alongside the likes of Moises Caicedo and Enzo Fernandez is a matter for speculation.
Yet, if Leeds are successful in their goal of achieving promotion this term, it might not be long until this idea gets put to the test – with Ampadu no doubt remaining a mainstay in Farke’s side were the Whites to return to the promised land.