One of the feistiest battles next season in the Championship would definitely be between Middlesbrough and Leeds United with the Whites’ manager changing camps contrary to everyone’s expectations. But, it seems up like the warm-up has already begun in the pre-transfer period itself.
According to reports, Leeds are facing a stiff competition with the Teessiders for the signature of Norwich City midfielder Jonny Howson. The 29-year-old has been quite impressive for the Canaries since his move from Elland Road back in 2012, and the Whites now want their academy product back. New Whites manager Thomas Christiansen has made midfield reinforcements a priority and an experienced option would be much appreciated.
Following the arrival of Mateusz Klich from Polish club Dutch side FC Twente, Howson is targeted as the second arrival by the manager. Apart from the experienced option of Eunan O’Kane and Luke Murphy, Leeds had to risk playing inexperienced options like Ronaldo Vieira and Kalvin Phillips last season.
And given how gruelling the Championship season can be, where each team has to play 46 games apart from the EFL Cup and FA cup competitions to reach the playoffs, Christiansen has to stay ready with a thick bench at his disposal. And what better than a player who has immense experience in both Championship and Premier League.
Since moving to Carrow Road back in 2011, Howson has played in the top-flight football for four years at a stretch before Norwich got relegated the following year, only to be promoted in 2015 yet again. In his seven-year stint with Norwich, the midfielder has played over 180 games for them, scoring a decent 23 goals and assisting 20 times.
Howson is on the verge of leaving Norwich with the club currently going through the cost-cutting process, and although the club is desperate to hold on to him, the player has reportedly made up his mind.
Norwich’s Sporting Director, Stuart Webber, has already admitted to their financial crisis, saying, “Sometimes things happen you don’t expect. Steve (Stone) has spoken about the financial situation and we need to sell to bring in players. Unfortunately, in that scenario, you are waiting for someone to come and buy a player and that can be a quick process or it can be August 31.”
Leeds United would get a serious upgrade in their midfield with Howson alongside Klich and their new owner seems to be delivering on his promises. However, Garry Monk would be a huge hindrance on their way for sure as his thrilling season with Leeds the last term could be a big lure for Howson.