in the land of milk and honey, Leeds United would be at Wembley and looking at the Premier League a game closer.
Milk and honey is in short supply at Elland Road today after last night’s bitter loss to what was a rampant Derby County side. The Rams raided the Whites at home – running out 4-2 winners on the night and 4-3 winners overall.
Whilst Frank Lampard’s men go on to a Wembley date against Aston Villa, Bielsa’s boys are left viewing things with a darker, doom-laden outlook. A 48-game campaign that promised much now lies in tatters all around them.
It will take a summer of astute recruitment, alongside hope that Marcelo Bielsa will stay, to bring the Whites back in line for a tilt at promotion for the 2019/20 season. Alongside arrivals though, Leeds United fans must accept that there will be departures. Some of these will be at the behest of the club, others will be driven by other clubs.
One of those players who could easily head out of Elland Road is Swedish centre-back Pontus Jansson. Jansson has been at Elland Road since signing on an initial loan deal from Serie A side Torino in August 2016.
He’s been part of a Leeds United side that finished 7th, then 13th before heartbreakingly losing out against Derby County in the Championship Play-Off semi-final last night. The 28-year-old featured in 39 games during the 2018/19 campaign, scoring three goals and adding one assist.
He’s served the Whites as well as any fan could have wished for and looked back to his rock-like, head-a-brick best under Bielsa this season. Thing is though, will he be back next season to have another run at promotion to the Premier League with Leeds?
His contract that runs until June 2022 says yes, but long contracts don’t take into account interest from other clubs. There’s been interest before from top-tier sides, over this summer there will be interest again and that can be counted on.
Jansson is also a seasoned Sweden international, one with 20 caps to his name. Will he be prepared to wallow in the second level of English football when he could likely play at a higher level? Loyalty only stretches so far when checked by ambition.
Look, I’m not saying that Pontus Jansson will definitely be leaving Elland Road, I’m not saying that he even might be. However, United’s failure to secure a place in the Premier League could easily lead to his departure from the club by one means or the other.