Archie Gray is the latest to wave goodbye...

An outrageously good XI let go by Leeds United since Marcelo Bielsa arrived in 2018

Leeds United have had an up-and-down time of it since Marcelo Bielsa was appointed their manager six years ago, and some excellent players have come and gone during that time.

Sporting director Victor Orta made an inspired decision to appoint Bielsa in the summer of 2018, while some canny additions to the squad saw Leeds end their 16-year exile from the top flight.

They spent three years back in the Premier League, punching above their weight to finish ninth in the first season back, before questionable recruitment decisions have led to them ending up back in the Championship.

We’ve identified a full XI of players that have left the club since Bielsa arrived.

GK: Elia Caprile

One of many Orta long-term project signings, Italian ‘keeper Caprile joined the club as an 18-year-old in January 2020.

He spent two years on the club’s books, developing in the youth set-up before being sent out on loan to Serie C club Pro Patria. He never made an appearance for the first team and when he was sold to second-tier Bari in 2022, you assumed he’d be one of those players you’d never hear of ever again.

But he went on to enjoy an outstanding debut season with Bari in Serie B and was talked up by scouts as one of the best young goalkeepers on the continent. Serie A champions Napoli bought him last summer, before loaning him out to Empoli.

Caprile’s Football Manager potential is off the scale, though time will tell whether he becomes a top-level ‘keeper in real life. Either way, he was an easy pick for the spot between the sticks ahead of Bailey Peacock-Farrell and Kiko Casilla.

RB: Luke Ayling

We’re still waiting to see whether long-serving captain Liam Cooper extends his stay at Elland Road, but over the past year or two we’ve slowly seen the core of Bielsa’s promotion-winning side move on.

Alongside Cooper, Mateusz Klich, Pablo Hernandez and Stuart Dallas, Ayling can be considered one of the key pillars of a team that’ll live on in the hearts and minds of a generation of Leeds fans who fell back in love with football watching that all-action side.

The time was right, after Ayling suffered a drop-off in form under Jesse Marsch and never quite regained it under Daniel Farke.

After moving on loan to Middlesbrough in January, he was among the standout players in Michael Carrick’s side, registering more assists than any other Championship player since his mid-season arrival.

He’s since joined the club on a permanent contract following the expiration of his deal with Leeds.

We might not see Ayling back to the heights that saw him in contention for an England call-up, once rivalling Lionel Messi for the top progressive carry distance across Europe’s major leagues, but the 32-year-old has proven that he remains a solid, dependable Championship full-back.

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every player to appear for Leeds under Marcelo Bielsa?

CB: Robin Koch

Centre-back is a bit of a problem position for this XI, as it was at Leeds in the post-promotion era.

Leeds tried and failed to sign Ben White on a permanent deal after the starring role he played in achieving promotion. They eventually moved on to sign Robin Koch and Diego Llorente instead, but in hindsight breaking the bank to sign White alone would’ve been a better use of funds.

Koch was by no means a disaster at Elland Road, but nor does he leave any great legacy. Leaving following relegation to see out the final year of his Leeds contract out on loan at Eintracht Frankfurt was met with a collective shrug.

Still, Koch making Germany’s Euro 2024 squad ahead of Champions League finalist Mats Hummels tells you that he does possess quality.

CB: Pontus Jansson

The Swedish defender enjoyed a short but sweet stint as a cult hero at Elland Road, his heart-on-sleeve, chest-beating style quickly endearing him to the fans.

He was among Leeds’ obvious standouts before Bielsa arrived and enjoyed another solid season under the Argentinian coach.

But they never appeared a natural fit and things appeared to reach a head when Jansson (performatively?) ignored his manager’s instruction to allow Aston Villa an equaliser after Mateusz Klich’s contentious goal in April 2019.

Barely a month later, Jansson was shown the door, replaced by an up-and-coming Brighton loanee by the name of Ben White.

Jansson went on to play a big role in Brentford’s promotion and subsequent consolidation of their Premier League status, eventually doing as he always said he would by returning to his beloved boyhood club Malmo to see out his final playing years.

READ NEXT: Where are they now? Jesse Marsch’s 12 largely disastrous signings as Leeds United manager

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every player to score 10+ Premier League goals for Leeds United?

LB: Leif Davis

The Wallsend Boys Club alumnus spend time on the fringes during the Bielsa era. He caught the eye with his blistering pace going forward but never appeared to be the solution to Leeds’ long-running left-back issue, in which Stuart Dallas and Gjanni Alioski adapted their roles to play there.

There were flashes of promise but there was barely an afterthought from the Leeds faithful when he was first loaned to Bournemouth and then sold to Ipswich in 2022.

Two settled seasons as a regular starter for Kieran McKenna’s side have done him the world of good, though. There are still one or two question marks over his defensive capabilities, but his record of 32 assists as the Tractor Boys achieved back-to-back promotions, the latter at Leeds’ expense, speaks for itself.

Davis will be playing Premier League football next season and has fully earned the opportunity.

DM: Kalvin Phillips

“We don’t have a natural replacement for Kalvin Phillips,” may become the defining line of England’s Euro 2024 campaign, in which Gareth Southgate has – as yet – tinkered unconvincingly for a third midfielder to provide balance alongside Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham.

Southgate’s line caused uproar on social media and has quickly become a punchline, such is the massive hit Phillips’ reputation has taken since his unsuccessful move to Manchester City and subsequent disaster loan to West Ham.

But it shouldn’t be forgotten how big a role he played in England’s run to the Euro 2020 final, for which he was later voted the Three Lions’ Player of the Year.

It remains to be seen if Phillips will ever regain form, but there’s an excellent – you might say indispensable – defensive midfielder there if he can get back to his old levels.

CM: Tyler Adams

“I resonate with those fans unbelievably well to this day. Whether they say they hate me or not, I couldn’t care less,” was Adams’ curt response on how he left Leeds.

As with the others who were signed in the summer of 2022 before jumping ship following relegation a year later, Adams didn’t leave Leeds with a great deal of goodwill.

But cool heads would recognise the USA captain was among Leeds’ better players during the calamitous Marsch era and the club might never have gone down had he not been injured for the run-in.

That same injury reduced him to just 118 minutes of Premier League action during his debut season at Bournemouth, but he could yet prove an astute addition once fit and firing.

CM: Archie Gray

Leeds fans barely saw young Gray in his natural position in midfield, where is future undoubtedly lies, but the manner in which he seamlessly slotted in at right-back at the age of 17 demonstrated his class.

Farke did give him a rare nod in midfield away to Chelsea in the FA Cup, and the fact that he produced a man-of-the-match display as Leeds went toe-to-toe with Mauricio Pochettino’s side tells you everything about his sky-high potential.

A future England international if you ever saw one.

The teenager was a near ever-present as Leeds conspired to not go up with 90 points last season. He’s not irreplaceable in the here and now, with centre-back Joe Rodon arriving from Tottenham in the other direction a more important cog for the club’s more immediate promotion ambitions.

Yet losing the club’s most promising academy graduate in a generation, the great-nephew of club icon Eddie Gray, for bureaucratic accounting purposes is a bitter pill to swallow.

Especially amid reports that he never wanted to leave in the first place. Football, eh?

Championship record sales including Jude Bellingham Ollie Watkins Jarrod Bowen

READ: Archie Gray No.1: The 10 most expensive players signed from the Championship

FWR: Raphinha 

Victor Orta’s finest hour was getting a deal done for the fully-fledged Brazilian superstar when Leeds had only just come up from the Championship.

The best player that Leeds have had since their heady days of Champions League football over two decades ago. He’s since gone on to win a La Liga title with Barcelona and start for Brazil in major tournaments.

Raphinha ever being at Elland Road almost feels like a mad fever dream now.

ST: Rodrigo

Leeds’ decision to sign the Spain international over up-and-coming Brentford forward Ollie Watkins is a decision that hasn’t aged well.

Rodrigo was 29 when he arrived at Leeds and was unlikely to ever have much resale value, as evidenced by his eventual £3million move to Qatari outfit Al-Rayyan last year.

The No.9 never looked like a natural fit under Bielsa, although had his moments, before eventually delivering a decent run of consistent goalscoring form under Marsch.

As with Adams, Leeds might still be a Premier League club had he not got injured in the spring of the doomed relegation season.

FWL: Jack Clarke

After a series of electric cameos in Bielsa’s first season, Tottenham ended their long transfer drought to sign Clarke for £10million in the summer of 2019.

But a loan back to Leeds kicked off a period of stagnation in the young winger’s career. He never made it at Spurs, while there were a couple of lost years with further non-descript loans at Stoke and QPR.

That £10million fee represented excellent value for a player who made the big move far too early in his career, but he’d be worth considerably more than that now after finding his feet at Sunderland.

Having helped the Black Cats go up from League One, he’s since established himself as one of the best wingers in the Championship over the past couple of seasons.

He’s taken the long way round but Clarke is a player that appears destined for Premier League football. If Leeds were to sell star man Crysensio Summerville this summer, they could do worse than reinvesting that cash to bring Clarke home.

Leeds United Players Sold XI since 2018 Marcelo Bielsa featuring Raphinha