According to the briefest snippet of a report by Calciomercato, Leeds United defender Pontus Jansson is wanted by Benfica.
The entirety of the piece, which is entitled ‘Benfica: likes a former Turin defender’ states very clearly that “Benfica wants the Swedish defender” who Leeds United signed on an initial loan deal from Serie A side Torino in mid-August 2016.
His arrival saw Leeds consolidate what was faltering play at the time and Jansson formed a solid and cohesive partnership at the centre of defence with Kyle Bartley. Leeds moved swiftly into the playoffs where they stayed for 26 games, 142 days before the now usual jitters saw them eventually end up in 7th place.
Such was the effect that he’d had on the fortunes of the side, Leeds turned the temporary deal into a permanent one effective of the start of July 2017 with a reported fee of £3.6m changing hands.
His level of consistency, and his ‘big game’ attitude means that he’s worth much more than that £3.6m now. He’s gone on to become a first-choice international for the Swedish side, appearing in the last World Cup. Interest is being bandied around for him, yet in speaking to Swedish media source Aftonbladet recently, he insists that he is happy with how life is at Elland Road.
After discussing the possibility that his ‘leaving’ would be up to Leeds, Jansson says: “I’ve always said that taking the step up to the Premier League is my dream and I want to do it with Leeds. It is up to Leeds if there is an interest in negotiating. Until then I am 110 percent Leeds. I’ll be there until the day they don’t want me.”
Those words should stand as stone that Jansson wants to/expects to stay at Elland Road. However, Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani has already said that the Whites will run a ‘difficult’ transfer window this summer. Many are saying that player sales will be the only way bought players are brought into.
In that respect, Pontus Jansson would be one of the marquee players, alongside Kalvin Phillips and Jack Clarke, who’d command both likely interest and possible bids. Leeds United have a recent track record of pursuing a sell-to-buy policy with their star players, would this time with Pontus Jansson be any different.
Loyalty is one thing, and it is good that Jansson is wanting to stay on and achieve with Leeds United. However, the lure of top-tier football with a side like Benfica, who are to press the first ‘definite’ named interest, would surely be too much to resist.