O’Leary had a bigger talent than Rutter in £7m goal machine

With Leeds United seeking to secure a swift return back to the top-flight, it has not quite been the start to the new Championship season that Daniel Farke would have been hoping for, with the Whites picking up just two wins from their opening six league games.

That being said, however, the Yorkshire giants did have to endure a turbulent summer which saw 15 players depart and nine new faces arrive at Elland Road, with the squad having been overhauled following last season’s dismal relegation.

With the transfer window now at a close, the hope will be that Farke can begin to truly get to work with the aim of his steering his side toward the top end of the table, with the most recent 3-0 victory away to Millwall having illustrated the exciting potential that the German has at his disposal.

That classy away performance also proved another fine day for the club’s record signing, Georginio Rutter, with the promising striker seemingly shaking of last season’s woes after having made his mark at The Den in style.


With two goals from just five league appearances so far this term the young Frenchman is beginning to truly showcase his quality, although he will have to go someway if he is to reach the heights of the club’s stellar centre-forwards of years gone by…

How good is Georginio Rutter?

Brought in for an eye-watering sum of £35.5m in January, the former Hoffenheim man initially looked like being a colossal waste of money for those at Elland Road, having failed to score in what was a deeply disappointing end to last season.

The 6 foot forward was described by Leeds Live’s Beren Cross as being basically “a non-entity” during the defeat to Chelsea back in March, with Rutter unable to prove the difference-maker that was needed in the club’s battle for survival.

Fast forward just a few months, however, and there are signs of life in the 21-year-old’s Leeds career as his three goal contributions this term indicate, with the £70k-per-week hotshot having already struck up a promising partnership with summer signing Joel Piroe.

Quite whether the one-time Rennes man can maintain this impressive early season form remains to be seen, however, with Farke potentially wishing he had a more guaranteed supply of goals to lead the line this term.

Looking back into the past, Leeds have been blessed with some top-drawer strikers who certainly knew where the goal was, with now-retired ace, Mark Viduka seemingly one such talent who would have been ideal in the present day.

How much did Leeds pay for Mark Viduka?

The 6 foot 2 marksman had begun his career in his native Australia and in Croatia prior to joining Scottish giants Celtic in 1998, going on to score 28 goals in just 34 games across all fronts for the Old Firm outfit, after overcoming initial stress-related struggles at Parkhead.

That prolific introduction to life in Britain saw the Melbourne-born goal machine catch the eye of Leeds and then-boss David O’Leary in the summer of 2000, with the Whites preparing for a crack at the Champions League for the forthcoming campaign.

Having been impressed by the striker’s displays north of the border, O’Leary and co opted to fork out a sizeable sum of around £7m in order to bring Viduka to England, with that ultimately proving money well spent as he quickly made his mark in his new surroundings.

How many goals did Mark Viduka score for Leeds?

It didn’t exactly take long for Viduka to endear himself to the Leeds faithful as he hit 17 league goals during a stunning debut campaign, having also scored four times and contributed four assists as part of the club’s surge to the Champions League semi-final.

That latter tally included a goal and an assist against La Liga giants Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, although that season is best remembered for the Aussie’s four-goal haul against Liverpool in the 4-3 thriller in November 2000.

Such a complete performance showcased the full array of the striker’s clinical and devastating talents, as he ultimately ended that 2000/01 season with 22 goals in 53 games in all competitions under O’Leary’s watch.

Those heroics continued over the next few years as the imposing hitman ultimately scored 71 goals in only 165 games in all competitions prior to his departure for Middlesbrough in 2004, having hit double figures for league goals in each of his four seasons with the Whites – including a stellar haul of 20 top-flight goals in 2002/03 to help steer his side to safety.

Mark Viduka’s Career Record



Leeds United






Newcastle United






Dinamo Zagreb



Stats via Transfermarkt

Unlike the aforementioned Rutter, the 39-cap international proved himself as a truly reliable goalscoring presence in England’s top-flight, with such a dependable talent seemingly worth his wait in gold, both then and now.

How good was Mark Viduka?

As a figure who courted attention from the likes of AC Milan and Manchester United when in his pomp in Yorkshire, it is fair to say that Viduka was the type of striker that seemingly any side in Europe would wish to have their hands on.

That was the verdict of Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville, at least, with the ex-Red Devils skipper having said of his former rival’s quality back in 2020: “My view on Viduka is that he could have played for any team in Europe at that time. I think he was one of the best forwards in Europe. He was capable of playing in a technical team, he could have played in a long ball team, he was capable of playing in any type of team.”

Gary Neville

Viduka’s suitability to the modern era – as the hypothetical figurehead in Farke’s side – was also noted by Neville, with the former England international going on to add: “I think [Viduka] would grace the Premier League today if he was playing, he was such a great player. Technically, he was brilliant. I always thought he was ahead of his time in terms of the way he played the game, he would have enjoyed it a lot more today than he would have done back then.”

With both the ability to find the back of the net and effectively hold the ball up to bring others into play, the 47-year-old was at times someone who you simply “couldn’t stop” – as per pundit Jamie Carragher.

As such, for all the exciting promise that Rutter is beginning to demonstrate, Leeds are still arguably crying out for an ‘unstoppable’ striker of Viduka’s ilk.

#OLeary #bigger #talent #Rutter #goal #machine

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