From Beckford to Forshaw – five of Leeds United’s best January signings since its introduction in 2002

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January is a month that Leeds United have notoriously struggled to do transfer business in.

Particularly since Marcelo Bielsa’s arrival at Elland Road, it is a market that has been rarely tapped into in recent seasons.

But this year will need to be different for the Whites due to a combination of reasons.

Leeds’ squad has been absolutely ravaged by injuries for the majority of the campaign, which has contributed to them sitting 16 th in the table, and at risk of being sucked into a relegation battle.

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With Leeds’ need for January signings a necessity, here is a look at some of the club’s most successful signings from the winter window since it was first introduced in the 2002/03 season.

Jermaine Beckford

Jermaine Beckford (Image: Getty)

In what was one of the lowest eras in the club history, Jermaine Beckford was one of a few shining lights during Leeds’ days in League One.

Beckford arrived from non-league side Wealdstone in January of 2006 and established himself as a key player during the Whites’ first season in the third tier.

His superb tally of 85 goals in 151 appearances for Leeds does not tell the whole story of his time at Elland Road, either.

He scored the winner in the famous FA Cup third round victory at Manchester United in 2010, before then also netting the goal that sent Leeds back into the Championship.

Bradley Johnson

Bradley Johnson

Bradley Johnson joined Leeds halfway through the club’s first season back in League One.

He eventually went onto establish himself as a vital part of Simon Grayson’s midfield, forming an excellent trio alongside Neil Kilkenny and Jonny Howson.

Johnson played a key role in Leeds’ promotion from League One, and it was his cross that led to Beckford’s winner against Bristol Rovers.

He was also renowned for scoring the occasional screamer, too, with his long-range strike against Arsenal living long in the memory.

Max Gradel

Max Gradel in action for Leeds

After joining on loan from Leicester City in October 2009, Max Gradel made his move to Leeds a permanent one just three months later.

He almost made himself a villain at Elland Road when he was sent off in the first half of the crucial promotion encounter with Bristol Rovers, however his teammates avenged him by going onto win the game.

Gradel made up for his mistake in the best possible way, though, lighting up the Championship in Leeds’ first season back after promotion, netting 18 goals in 41 appearances from the left-hand side of midfield.

Watching him and Robert Snodgrass tear Championship full backs apart on a weekly basis was an entertaining time for Leeds supporters.

Pablo Hernandez

Pablo Hernandez (Image: Getty Images)

Although he originally signed for the club on a loan deal in the summer of 2016, Pablo Hernandez made his move to Elland Road a permanent one the following January.

Hernandez went onto establish himself as a modern-day legend at Leeds, particularly for his contributions during the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons.

The 36-year-old netted 36 goals and provided 41 assists in 175 games for the Whites, scoring arguably their most important in recent history when he notched a 90 th minute winner away at Swansea City to all but seal promotion to the Premier League.

Perhaps the biggest indicator of his legacy at Elland Road is the fact Leeds supporters go watch Hernandez in action on a regular basis at his current club Castellon, who are in the third tier of Spanish football.

Adam Forshaw

Adam Forshaw (Image: Getty Images)

Although half of his four year stay at Leeds has been spent on the treatment table, Adam Forshaw has proved to be a rare January window success over recent seasons.

Forshaw was always a consistent performer for the Whites until his injury in September 2019, but his form since returning to action this campaign has been astonishing.

The 30-year-old has arguably returned a better player since before his hip problem, particularly when you consider the calibre of opposition he is now up against.

He is out of contract at the end of the season but is set to be rewarded with a new one, which shows just how important he has become.

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