Leicester, Leeds United gatecrash promotion places: Championship teams ranked by record signing

Lewis Oldham
Championship record signings

The Championship record signing table includes some big names from down the years with Leicester City and Leeds United top of the tree.

All fees are taken from transfermarkt


1) Leicester City – Youri Tielemans (AS Monaco, £38.9m)
The FA Cup final match-winner more than justified his high price tag during his time at The King Power Stadium following his nightmare stint in Ligue Un with Monaco.


2) Leeds United – Brenden Aaronson (RB Salzburg, £28.3m)
Georginio Rutter was billed as Leeds United‘s record signing upon his arrival but transfermarkt have Aaronson as their most expensive arrival. The winger was one of their better players during their relegation season last time around.


3) Watford – Ismaila Sarr (Rennes, £25.7m)
The Senegal winger was too good for the Championship before he joined ex-Sheffield United forward Iliman Ndiaye in signing for Marseille during the most recent summer transfer window.


4) Southampton – Tino Livramento (Chelsea, £22.6m)
The 20-year-old full-back has already been sold for fees worth over £50m during his short career so far, but if he manages to stay injury-free, the ex-Saints star has already proven that he is capable of comfortably living up to his huge valuation during Newcastle United’s rise to dominance.


5) Stoke City – Giannelli Imbula (Porto, £20.7m)
What a waste of time this was.

Signed during the post-Tony Pulis era when Stoke had Champions League winners for days, Imbula only played 28 times for the English side and had a reputation for not caring one jot about Stoke.


6) Swansea City – Andre Ayew (West Ham, £19.5m)
Time for a more successful signing as Swansea’s former Ghanaian attacker sneaks them into the play-off spots.

The brother of Crystal Palace’s Jordan Ayew made a good impression in Qatar and scored 15-plus goals in the Championship in consecutive seasons before leaving in 2021.


7=) Huddersfield Town – Terence Kongolo (AS Monaco, £17.1m)
Brought in during the Terriers’ debut season in the Premier League in 2018, the centre-back helped them stay up against the odds before they fell victim to second season syndrome.

An underwhelming spell at Fulham has followed and he’s now on loan at Rapid Vienna.


7=) Sunderland – Didier Ndong (Lorient, £17.1m)
The Gabon midfielder’s time at Sunderland got off to a decent start, although they were relegated during his debut season in 2016/17.

Ndong is now an unpopular figure in the north east. He didn’t turn up for training as Sunderland prepared for life in League One and he was eventually sacked. Bad egg.


9) Middlesbrough – Britt Assombalonga (Nottm Forest, £14.6m)
One of the Football League’s best goalscorers on his day, Assombalonga’s career has declined in recent years and – before his more recent dire spell at Watford – Neil Warnock let him leave Middlesbrough for nothing in April 2021.


10) West Brom – Salomon Rondon (Zenit St Petersburg, £14.5m)
Rafael Benitez’s personal favourite striker has been pretty dire for Everton in recent years. Still, he was actually decent in the Premier League for West Brom and latterly while on loan at Newcastle United.


11) Hull City – Ryan Mason (Tottenham Hotspur, £13.2m)
The Tottenham academy product joined Premier League rivals Hull City for more game time in 2016.

Sadly, his career was cut short after suffering a fractured skull. He’s turned to coaching and is now contributing to Ange-ball at Spurs.


12) QPR – Christopher Samba (Anzhi Makhachkala, £12.8m)
QPR are quite a stable club nowadays, but Samba was signed during their sh*t-or-bust phase in the Premier League.

The physical centre-back only managed ten appearances for the Londoners as they were relegated in 2013.


13) Cardiff City – Gary Medel (Sevilla, £11.1m)
Capturing the 152-cap Chile international was a bit of a coup for the Welsh side following their promotion to the top flight.

He showed his class in flashes but he jumped ship and joined Inter Milan at the end of Cardiff’s one-season tenure in the Premier League.


14) Blackburn Rovers – Andy Cole (Manchester United, £10.4m)
Cole was recruited after the Englishman fell down the pecking order at Old Trafford in 2001.

He was later reunited with Dwight Yorke at Ewood Park but a fall-out with everyone’s least favourite pundit, Graeme Souness, made it an underwhelming spell.


15) Sheffield Wednesday – Jordan Rhodes (Middlesbrough, £10.1m)
Rhodes has been a semi-regular goalscorer at Championship level in recent seasons but his peak came between 2009 and 2015 at Huddersfield Town and Blackburn Rovers… a couple of years before his underwhelming stint at Hillsborough.

READ MORE: Middlesbrough, Moore lauded; Sheffield Wednesday shambolic – F365’s Championship Spotlight


16) Norwich City – Christos Tzolis, Milot Rashica, Steven Naismith and Timm Klose (PAOK, Werder Bremen, Everton and Wolfsburg, £9.4m)
Norwich’s apparent refusal to pay more than £9.4m on a player has led to them having FOUR joint-record signings.


17) Birmingham City – Emile Heskey (Liverpool, £8m)
Sometimes maybe good, sometimes maybe sh*t.

Heskey’s debut season at Birmingham led to him being named their Player of the Year. Then in 2004/05, he was criticised by fans as they dropped down to the Championship.


18) Coventry City – Craig Bellamy (Norwich City, £7.9m)
The little Welsh sh*thouse, who was pretty good at football, moved to Coventry after not getting his wish of a switch to Newcastle United.

Upon leaving Coventry to get his desired move to Newcastle, Bellamy said: “I never once enjoyed it at Coventry. I felt quite demoralised. I had enjoyed myself so much at Norwich – but I found I had taken a backward step.” Sheesh.


19) Bristol City – Tomas Kalas (Chelsea, £7.7m)
The centre-back was another victim of Chelsea’s apparent kink of hoarding young players but he was freed back in 2019.


20) Ipswich Town – Hermann Hreidarsson (Wimbledon FC, £5.84m)
The Icelandic defender forged a decent career for himself in the Premier League and he was eventually a part of that FA Cup-winning Portsmouth side in 2008.


21) Preston North End – Milutin Osmajic (Cadiz, £2.2m)
Preston’s new big striker has contributed to their stunning start to the new season. The third-placed outfit are in dreamland under Ryan Lowe, but they should eventually slip away from promotion contention.


22) Millwall – Zian Flemming and Casper De Norre (Fortuna Sittard and OH Leuven, £2.1m)
Not quite as bad as Norwich, but Millwall (and the next team in this table) have two current players sharing the ‘record signing tag’ with star attacker Flemming and summer signing De Noore.


23) Plymouth Argyle – Bali Mumba and Morgan Whittaker (Norwich City and Swansea City, £995,000)
The Pilgrims invested heavily during the summer in an attempt to stabilise in the Championship and so far, Mumba and Whittaker have been hugely successful additions for the newly-promoted side.


24) Rotherham United – Sam Nombe (Exeter City, £952,000)
The Millers also smashed their record transfer fee this summer on Nombe, who – despite reuniting with former Exeter boss Matt Taylor – is yet to find the net for the Championship strugglers.

READ MORE: Norwich 24), Leicester 19), Leeds 2) – Champ sides ranked by their market vs purchase value profit/loss