Pontus - should he stay or should he go?
Friday, 28th Apr 2017 18:03 by Tim Whelan
Pontus Jansson has pledged his future to Leeds, despite reported interest from Southampton, and the dizzy heights of Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.
Swedish media outlet Kvallsposten have claimed that interest in our cult hero extends as far as several clubs who are likely to challenge for the Premier League title next season, although Southampton are probably a more realistic destination for the central defender.
The Saints have sold a number of their leading players in recent years, and this is likely to continue, with Liverpool chasing their current star Virgil van Dijk, who is valued at £50m by the south coast mob. Should that transfer come to pass it would leave Southampton with money to burn and a gap to plug in their defence, hence their interest in Jansson.
Sky Sports claim the Saints could be prepared to offer Torino three times the £3.5 million the Italians have agreed with Leeds to convert his year-long loan into a permanent transfer. And the defender’s agent, former Swedish international Martin Dahlin, was quoted in the Swedish press last week as saying that Jansson was intent on playing in the Premier League next season.
But Jansson himself contradicted this in an interview published by the Yorkshire Post today. “My future is in Leeds, of course. My contract starts in July and that’s the only thing I can say. You can see how happy I am to play here and every time I go out to play a game for Leeds I always give more than 100 per cent. No-one can say something else. I’m really proud to be here and play for Leeds.”
“There’s no reason for me to speculate about other clubs and I haven’t done that either. There was an article in a Swedish newspaper where my agent said something but I don’t put any focus on it. This is not the first time in my career that there has been speculation about me. I’m a person that doesn’t care so much about that type of thing.”
And he hasn’t given up on the hope that he will be in the Premiership with Leeds next season, even though we are now dependent on our play-off rivals slipping up. “I really believe that we’re going to be in the play-offs and that other teams are going to start to shake a bit. I’m 200 per cent (confident). The other teams are going to have tough games and there’s a chance that they’ll have zero points after these games.”
And yet he admitted that he’s found the demands of English football a bit hard in his first season here, even though a couple of suspensions and injuries have given him a rest from time to time. “It’s been a long season. I can’t talk for the other guys but for me, playing 35 games is tough.” And on the subject of our slump in form…“Maybe there’s a bit of pressure, maybe there are other reasons too. It’s difficult to say right now. We can only think about that after the season ends.”
Could another reason for our downturn be that something went on behind the scenes that caused Garry Monk to drop Jansson until he was forced to recall the Swede due to Liam Coopers suspension? It might be co-incidence, but that did happen at just the same time that Leeds started to run out of steam.
So is Jansson going to stay at Leeds for another season, even if we don’t go up? And will he even have the choice if Southampton do make Torino a bid of £13m? There can be little doubt that the Italians would want to accept the highest bid, even if they have already agreed a fee with Leeds. And does Garry Monk want to keep hold of our talisman, despite his willingness to drop him a few weeks ago?
We’ll find out one way or another in the coming weeks, but our chances of success next season will be enhanced if we can keep hold of our best current player, even if he does get himself booked rather too often.
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