It seems that Leeds United are a side perennially in a state of either flux or rebuilding; it is the same now as it was three seasons ago…and beyond.
New owner Andrea Radrizzani took over this season from previous owner Massimo Cellino, the incoming Italian promising to deliver a five-year plan. That was another plan heaped on top of previous plans in what is quickly becoming, as some Leeds fans will gladly point out, something of a ‘planfill’ site.
Last season promised a lot, and dared to almost deliver. Whites fans basked in a very real play-off assault, only a late-season drop of form resulting in an agonisingly close 7th-place finish. Much hope was placed on this season and progress being made, but it is a forlorn hope as Leeds sit in a mediocre 12th place at the moment.
The play-off picture looks beyond the Whites and fan thoughts are turning towards yet another ‘next season’ and what can be dome differently. The club have gone on record as saying that player incomings will be based on player outgoings, Leeds United’s transfer direction looking like the door policy of a busy nightclub.
Fans across social media have already begun to postulate on some of the likely, and feared, ‘outs’ that will allow some ‘ins’ to be made. One of their fears, is that talismanic defender Pontus Jansson could be one to make way. It is something that Yorkshire Evening Post reporter Phil Hay broaches in reply to a question from a Leeds United fan on Twitter.
my gut feeling is that if anyone is going to leave it'll be him (especially if he has a good World Cup).
— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) April 2, 2018
Jansson arrived on loan from Serie A side Torino came at an early low point to Leeds United’s early 2016/17 Sky Bet Championship campaign. He arrived with the Whites struggling near the foot of the table, the relegation places just below them. However, and forming a solid partnership with Kyle Bartley, the Swedish international was instrumental in turning around Leeds’ fortunes.
His consistency over last season, as well as his increasing synergy with the Elland Road crowd, drew fans to him. These fans saw the dominant Swede as a player that the club could build around, put together another planned season. However, as table position and results have shown, it is not a season that has gone to plan.
Still, should Phil Hay’s gut feeling prove correct, then Leeds United fans will need to look elsewhere for a defensive colossus to build the side around in 2018/2019 – another season and another plan.