Two years ago, the name Samu Saiz would likely have garnered a confused shrug even from football fans in his native Spain. But after a couple of superb seasons at second-tier Huesca, the consensus is that Leeds United’s new signing possesses real talent.
So, just who is the late-blooming 26-year-old?
Saiz began his career in Real Madrid’s C and B teams, playing alongside the likes of Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso and Watford’s Juanfran. However, he failed to break into Los Blancos’ world-class first team, eventually getting his first – and as yet only – taste of La Liga with Getafe, where the Madrid native spent the 2012-13 season.
That was followed by a frustrating two years at Atletico Madrid, where the former Real youngster again found himself stuck in the reserves – before a 2015 move to second-tier Huesca kick-started the former Spain Under-19 international’s career.
The versatile winger-cum-striker showed his dynamic streak and eye for the spectacular during his first season in Aragon, with a spectacular goal against Real Zaragoza the highlight of an electric – if inconsistent – campaign.
But the Whites’ new buy enjoyed undoubtedly the best form of his career to date in 2016-17, producing exciting, creative displays with superb end product time and time again.
Saiz netted 12 times in total, including a string of late winners – proving himself to be a man for the crucial moment. Add to that a haul of nine assists, and an adaptability which saw him star on both wings and in a support striker role, and you can make a case for his having been the best player in Segunda Division last term.
Those stats will be music to the ears of Leeds fans, who were over-reliant on striker Chris Wood last term, with more than half of their goals either netted or set-up by the New Zealander.
With Saiz the sixth buy of a savvy Summer’s worth of business from Thomas Christiansen, you can’t write Leeds off for the Championship title at 16/1, while there’s 5/1 on offer for the Yorkshire giants to win promotion back to the Premier League.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing