Leeds United have lost the services of Pontus Jansson as the club sold him for a reported sum of £5.5m to Brentford. Things moved on quite quickly since it was reported (Mirror) that Bielsa and Jansson had a row and the manager had banned him from training at Thorp Arch. However, what’s done is done, and the Whites should look to bring in a replacement for the defender.
The club recently completed the signing of Ben White from Brighton, but we don’t see him as a first-team option yet. Therefore the club has just two senior defenders in the form of Gaetano Berardi and Liam Cooper. United should look at some Premier League club for loan deals, and one player who we think will be an ideal signing is Filip Benkovic of Leicester City.
Why will Benkovic be an ideal signing?
At just 21, he has managed to gain Champions League experience as he played for Dinamo Zagreb. The defender spent the last season on loan with Scottish heavyweights Celtic where he soon became a fan favourite because of his nonchalant style of defending.
The defender is exceptionally calm and composed on the ball, and he should fit into Bielsa’s system well as he wants his defenders to play out from the back. Benkovic stands at 6ft4, and he is extremely strong in the air. Moreover, his reading of the game is often impressive, and the best part is he is still just 21. There is no doubt to us that he would be a big hit in the Championship.
Chances of Leeds United getting their man
If Leicester decides to loan him out again, we think that Celtic are likely to be the favourites to land him. However recently the Hoops posted goodbye messages to departing players, and Benkovic’s name was also on that list. So it doesn’t seem like the defender would head back to Celtic again.
Benkovic’s future could hinge on what would happen to Harry Maguire this summer. The England international has been linked with big money moves to Manchester United and Manchester City. Therefore if Maguire stays put at the King Power Stadium, then we believe that Rodgers could very much look to sanction a move for Benkovic this summer.
The Croatian centre was so good for Celtic last season that his performance was compared to that of Virgil Van Dijk who spent two seasons at Parkhead. Benkovic hardly used to break a sweat while dealing with the opposition at the back and there is no doubt that he will be more than an ideal replacement for Jansson.