Leeds United chiefs have had a subtle dig at Samuel Saiz by slamming him as a “fringe” player in their newly-published accounts.

The playmaker was sold last summer to Girona in his native Spain after being loaned out midway through the season to Getafe just weeks after being a key man in Marcelo Bielsa’s side.

The hasty manner of Saiz’s mid-campaign exit and the cut-price fee he was sold for appears to have left a bitter taste for the Leeds board.

In the annual accounts for the year ending 30 June 2019, the Leeds board’s ‘strategic report’ summarises the investments on and off the pitch overseen by owner Andrea Radrizzani.

After hailing the summer-of-2018 arrivals Patrick Bamford and Jack Harrison, the exit of Saiz was in line with the club’s “financial responsibility” as he is dismissed as a “fringe” player.

The facts show that the summary, signed off by chief executive Angus Kinnear, was not entirely accurate.

Saiz was in the starting XI for 14 of Bielsa’s first 15 Championship matches and the team was built around him pulling the strings in the playmaker role.

He was outstanding at the start of the Argentine’s reign as Leeds raced out of the starting blocks and led the league early on, before his form tailed off in line with that of the team.

Saiz continued to be a key member of the Leeds squad until 8 December, starting the 2-1 win v QPR, but that turned out to be his last game for the club as he headed to Spain just a week later.

The attacking midfielder left Leeds after his 58 matches across 18 months yielded 10 goals and 12 assists.

He spent half a season on loan at Getafe in La Liga before joining Girona in the second tier last summer for a fee of around £2m, which was £1m less than Leeds paid for him.

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