By Editor Wayne Veysey
The way things are going, Leeds’ transfer dealings in the summer of 2015 could eventually enter Elland Road folklore.
Pontus Jansson. Luke Ayling. Liam Bridcutt. Pablo Hernandez. Hadi Sacko. Kemar Roofe. Virtually every move has paid major dividends.
Yet none has been more significant in a season that is defying expectations by the week than the deal that brought Kyle Bartley to Leeds on a season-long loan from Swansea.
What an impact the 25-year-old has made. His commanding displays in the centre of defence alongside fellow loanee Jansson have been the bedrock of Leeds’ promotion challenge.
Bartley’s solidity, physical presence and leadership is the ideal counter balance to Jansson’s more mobile, heart-on-the-sleeve style.
It is little wonder the former Arsenal trainee is now being held in as high esteem by supporters as the more eyecatching player who lines up alongside him.
He scored his fourth goal of the season in Monday’s 3-0 win against Rotherham with an emphatic header that put Leeds on track for their fourth win in five league games.
It was no coincidence that Bartley, who has started 24 of Leeds’ 25 Championship fixtures this season, gave the team a more solid look as he was immediately recalled in place of Liam Cooper, who gave away the handball that cost the team two points against Aston Villa.
Only spearhead Chris Wood, who lifted his tally for the campaign to 16 with his clinical double against Rotherham, has hit the back of the net more times than Bartley.
Leeds can make Jansson theirs any time they like now the option to take him permanently from Torino is live following the trigger of his 20th appearance on Monday.
Bartley, whose loan runs until May, is not subject to any such clause but the defender has taken on the status of team lynchpin.
If the chance arrives for Leeds to sign the centre-back permanently this month, the club should throw money at it.
Any deal will prove costly, as Swansea gave themselves the insurance policy last summer of tying the defender down to a new contract that runs until 2018.
Nevertheless, Leeds need to show ambition if they are to maintain the surge that has lifted them to within seven points of the automatic promotion places.
They have a massive asset in their dressing room and must do all they can to keep hold of him.
In other Leeds transfer news, the club are in pole position to sign this brilliant striker this month.