Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa stated that centre-back Pontus Jansson could miss the first game of the season against Stoke on Sunday.
Yorkshire Evening Post journalist Phil Hay posted on Twitter some of Marcelo Bielsa’s comments during his press conference this morning. Amongst these comments was one hinting at the possible exclusion of fan favourite Pontus Jansson for the opening game of the season.
Bielsa indicating that Pontus Jansson won't start on Sunday. "He had three weeks of vacation, he came back six days ago and I have to take this into account." #lufc
— Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) August 3, 2018
The news means that Kalvin Phillips is likely to start in centre-back, after Bielsa has been playing him in defence despite his primary position being in centre-midfield.
The Swedish international has been linked with a move away over the summer transfer window, with the Daily Star reporting that the Swede gave United an ‘ultimatum’ to match his ambitions, or he would depart for a Premier League club.
Premier League clubs West Ham, Burnley and Southampton have been credited with interest in the centre-back according to LeedsLive, and Swedish paper KvallsPosten reported that Championship rivals West Brom were also interested in the 27-year-old.
Jansson represented Sweden in the World Cup in Russia this summer, as they reached the quarter-finals – only to be beaten by England. He made 42 Championship appearances for Leeds United last season, but admitted the change in management with Paul Heckingbottom coming in. He told LeedsLive:
“Changes in the team were stricter [in the] second half of the season with more training, which is not a problem for me, but [it was] incredibly messy and a big disappointment.”
Leeds fans will be hopeful that Jansson is missing out because of his long vacation and lack of match fitness – rather than a potential move away from Elland Road late on in the window.