Leeds United, for the first time in 12 years, will be sending one of their players to the FIFA World Cup – Pontus Jansson, who has been selected in the final 23 man list for Sweden. This obviously makes him one of the sought after targets with West Ham United and Southampton peering in with heavy interests.
When asked about his future, the 27-year-old said, “I’m fine even if it was a boring second half of the season in Leeds. “I have an important role in the club. I have matured as a player and as a human being. We’ll see where everything ends after the World Cup. This can be a continuation.”
Jansson has been at the heart of some controversy during the 2017/18 season despite being solid for the majority of it. He remains one of the best defenders in the Championship and could cost interested parties around £12m.
Jansson arrived at Elland Road in the summer of 2016 after impressing in his previous season loan spell from Torino. The Serie A outfit picked him on a free transfer in April 2014 from Malmo FF. Jansson was a big name in the Swedish club where he made over 100 senior team appearances.
His stint in the Italian top-flight was not the most rewarding and Leeds gave him the perfect escape. Now, he is the leader of the Peacocks backline and has 14 caps for the Sweden national team.
Jansson is tied to the Championship outfit till the summer of 2022. Leeds have, in quite spectacular fashion, sabotaged their own promotion hopes last term. The 2017/18 season showed great promise during its early days under Thomas Christiansen but after Boxing Day it all took a complete 360 turnaround. The loss column started to fill up with no signs of gathering any sort of points from the league games.
Even Paul Heckingbottom failed to stop the downward curve, seeing the team to a 13th place finish. Ideally, Andrea Radrizzani would be lining up a managerial replacement already but what he cannot afford to do is lose his best players.
In this market, £12m is not a lot when one plans on getting players of Jansson’s pedigree. Either they can sell him for a higher price after his performances in the World Cup or they could convince him to stay for a longer period with the promise of a more illustrious future.
If Leeds are to make a refined run for promotion, Jansson’s services will be highly relied upon. It remains to be seen how the defender fares with the challenges of the World Cup and how it determines his future at the Elland Road club.