Leeds United fans are discussing whether Portuguese winger Helder Costa should be handed a start over Jack Harrison or whether Bielsa should keep the same wide men to start against Derby.
Almost ten years ago, though, an Ivorian winger burst onto the scene at Elland Road joining from Leicester City, quickly becoming a fan favourite among the Leeds faithful.
Max Gradel is a name you can say to a Leeds United fan and you’ll be greeted with a wry smile and stories of a tricky winger and hot-headed character giving his opposite full-back a torrid time.
Former Leeds manager Simon Grayson who brought Gradel to the club talked up his new arrival saying “He can be anything on his day” after Gradel’s first ten-minute cameo against Norwich in 2009 had fans raving.
Next month will mark the ten year anniversary since Gradel came to Leeds, a short stint ended in the summer of 2011 as Gradel moved to France. What happened to Gradel after leaving the Football League “Where is he now?”
A product of the Leicester City academy, breaking through from the u18’s in 2007. He joined Bournemouth on loan playing 34 times in League One. The following season Gradel failed to make much of an impact back at Leicester and made his move to Yorkshire.
Gradel in his first season at Leeds managed 12 goal contributions in 32 games, being a large part of Leeds’s promotion to the Championship.
One of his most iconic moments in the famous white of Leeds United was seeing red in the season finale at home to Bristol Rovers, the game that clinched promotion. The moment Gradel got a hot-head reputation arguing with his own teammates after receiving his marching orders.
Leaving Leeds, quite reluctantly, Gradel moved to France to Saint-Etienne for four years playing 117 times even picking up the odd appearance in the Europa League. In Gradel’s final year at Saint-Etienne in the 2014/15 season Gradel managed his highest goal tally scoring 17 goals in 31 appearances.
Gradel returned to England in 2015, unfortunately for many Leeds fans the reunion many wanted didn’t materialise but Gradel ended up in the Premier League for Bournemouth. Unfortunately, injuries ruled his experience of the Premier League and he ended up back in France joining Toulouse initially on loan.
Still in France Gradel has been given the role of the club captain at Toulouse.
Every club has players that are considered legends for a variety of different reasons, Gradel is a player that although won’t be considered a legend in the conventional sense but will always be remembered fondly by Leeds fans.
After being at a club like Leeds it is hard to forget playing in front of such a passionate fan base home and away and being part of such a big club. Gradel has since become a Leeds fan…
Leeds Leeds Leeds M O T🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/lcxwnCYxAM
— Maxi Alain Gradel (@maxigr04del) May 15, 2019