Crack open the champers, Leeds have dodged a bullet by losing out one of top reported targets

COMMENT By Richard Parks

Raise the flags and bunting, uncork the champagne.

Leeds United fans should celebrate their club’s failure to secure Matthew Pennington on a permanent deal, not bemoan it.

Everton announced on their official Twitter account and website on Friday night that Pennington, who has spent the 2017-18 season on loan at Elland Road, has penned a three-year contract running until the summer of 2021.

As reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post, the defender was “high on Leeds’ summer wish list” after impressing the hierarchy this season.

United’s pursuit was slightly baffling given that Pennington was third choice centre-back for the entirety of the campaign.

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There is no shame in playing second fiddle to main man Pontus Jansson, but it would have infuriating to Pennington and his camp that he was also behind error-prone Liam Cooper in the pecking order.

The skipper began the season in fine form but that didn’t last long and he never recovered from the 1-0 defeat at Millwall in September that had such a dramatic effect on the entire team.

Truth be told, Pennington did not pull up any trees at Leeds this season. For a player with Premier League experience, he was a bit of a disappointment, often cutting a nervous figure.

He made 24 appearances in total, 15 of which were starts, but did little to suggest he could be the answer to the team’s defensive frailties.

Far better that Leeds concentrate their transfer window efforts on sealing the signing of Swansea City centre-back Kyle Bartley, whose season-long loan in 2016-17 was on a completely different level to Pennington’s.

United have dodged a bullet by missing out on the 23-year-old.

In other Leeds United news, it can be revealed that Andrea Radrizzani is ready to end the careers of 13 senior players at the club in a jawdropping cull.

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