By Will Butcher
Andy Ritchie believes other clubs will be keeping a close eye on Leeds on-loan ace Pontus Jansson following the brilliant start to his career in England.
The 25-year-old defender has excelled at the heart of the defence this season alongside fellow loanee Kyle Bartley, as Leeds continue their meteoric rise towards the summit of the Championship table.
In his column with the Yorkshire Evening Post, former Elland Road ace Ritchie claimed clubs will be scouting the Sweden international as he continues to inspire the Yorkshire giants and that he is the talk of the Championship.
“They have got players there that look as though they are winners,” Ritchie said. “Jansson definitely looks as though he is a winner to me. He’ll be being watched by suitors as well.
“He’s one of those that seems to have that drive and he has been one of those that has come in who everybody is talking about.”
Currently on loan from Serie A side Torino, Jansson was suspended in Leeds’ 1-0 win over Derby after picking up his tenth yellow card of the season against Cambridge United.
The automatic two-match ban will also see him sidelined for Saturday’s difficult trip to Yorkshire rivals Barnsley, as Leeds look to close the gap on second placed Newcastle.
Keeping nine clean sheets in his 21 league and cup appearances for Garry Monk’s side, the 6ft 5in colossus has also scored two goals as he edges closer to a permanent move.
His agent, former Borussia Monchengladbach striker Martin Dahlin, revealed to Swedish publication Fotbollskanalen that Jansson will sign a Leeds deal after 22 appearances, with just one more appearance needed to reach that mark.
Football Insider verdict:
Leeds must do everything within their power to keep Jansson at Elland Road. Wearing the number 18 shirt, the defender has been one of Leeds stand-out performers and would have no trouble adapting to the rigours of the Premier League if he can continue to inspire Leeds to promotion and end Leeds’ 13-year wait to return to the top flight. Ritchie’s claim will worry Leeds fans, who regard Jansson as a fan favourite already despite a short spell with Monk’s side. Bringing in him on a permanent basis is vital to Leeds’ chances of promotion, as well as fending off other clubs ahead of the summer window.
In other Leeds transfer news, this report has revealed Leeds’ two prioritised January transfer targets.