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Leeds United start the year 2017 in fifth position in the Championship, well in the fight for the play-off places. There is a buzz about the club, a real expectation that we could really achieve something this season. The January transfer window gives us a real chance to strengthen to push on in the second half of the season. Having said that Leeds’ key signings of the transfer window could already be at the club.
First up is Pontus Jansson the colossus of a centre half who along with Kyle Bartley is responsible for shoring up our defence this season. Mighty in the air both defensively and attacking, great at tacking, brave at blocking and a quality ball player Jansson has become a firm fans favourite. Jansson is on loan from Torino and Leeds agreed to make his season long loan permanent should he play 20 games. Following the man of the match performance at Villa Park he has now played 19. At the asking price of £3.5m it’s a deal which must be done considering the value he has already brought to the team this season.
Next are the former Swansea pair of Kyle Bartley and Pablo Hernandez. Hernandez is on a half season loan from Qatari team Al-Arabi with a view to make the deal permanent this January. The Spanish midfielder has missed out recently through injury but when he does grace the pitch, such as his cameo against Villa, he looks a class above everyone else on the field.
Defender Kyle Bartley is on a season long loan from Swansea but having signed a contract extension in the summer is still contracted until summer 2018. There had been thought to have been a gentlemen’s agreement that Leeds could sign Bartley for £2m but with Swansea currently in turmoil any agreements made may no longer apply, especially if they get relegated where a player of Bartley’s calibre could be extremely useful. This deal doesn’t need to be done in January but Bartley would be a great permanent addition to the squad and given the uncertainty at Swansea it may be best to get it done sooner rather than later.
The final piece of the jigsaw is Garry Monk. Twelve months on from sacking Garry Monk Swansea find themselves looking for their third manager since his departure following the sackings of Francesco Guidolin and Bob Bradley. Monk was sacked from Swansea after a run of only one win in eleven games leaving the team in 15th position, they now sit five positions below that, rock bottom of the table. Many feel Monk was harshly treated at Swansea, especially given his success the previous season.
What is certain is that Swansea’s loss is Leeds United’s gain. Together with his coaching staff of Pep Clotet and James Beattie Monk has turned Leeds into genuine promotion contenders this season. The football isn’t always the most attractive to watch but Leeds always seem to have a plan to deal with every team we face, even when the team is stretched thinly with injuries. Monk may or may not lead us to promotion this season but he has bought well and we are playing well.
The key to success is to plan for the long term with a vision and philosophy, with Monk we have the right man to back and we should back him with a longer contract as soon as possible before anyone else realises his worth.