Why Leeds must sign this defender on a permanent deal (not Jansson)
COMMENT By Matt Farr
Defence has been a real area of concern for Garry Monk. The recent suspension to Pontus Jansson, and injuries to Charlie Taylor and Liam Cooper left him short of options at the back when his side took on Derby on Friday.
Leeds have been linked with a move to land on loan defender Pontus Jansson on a permanent deal this month, but while Jansson would be an important piece of business for Leeds, Monk should also focus on bringing Kyle Bartley to the club on a full-time basis.
Bartley is currently on loan at Elland Road from Monk’s former club Swansea, and has been a superb addition to the ranks.
The 25-year-old defender has just been issued the Louis Erard Player of the Month award for December, a token of recognition from Leeds for his performances in recent weeks.
They are not wrong. While Chris Wood has been banging in the goals, Bartley has been a rock at the heart of the defence for Leeds. He helped Leeds to three clean sheets from five league games in December, while Leeds have yet to concede in the Championship since the turn of the year.
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Bartley has established himself as a leader in Garry Monk’s side, and his input since arriving from Swansea has been invaluable.
He has helped organised and transform the Leeds defence into one of the league’s most secure units, and continues to communicate well both on and off the field.
He is a big, strong, assertive defender and can be a valuable asset for years to come – especially if Leeds end up playing in the Premier League next season.
With a new manager at the helm at Swansea in Paul Clement, Monk should take advantage of his lack of knowledge of his inherited squad and make an approach to prize Bartley away.
He has had plenty regular first-team football at clubs besides Swansea – who continue to send him out on loan – and it is time for Bartley to finally settle down.
In Monk, he has a manager who trusted him for a number of years at the Liberty Stadium, and continues to show the faith in him by brining him to Leeds – where he has continued to excel.
He has come on leaps and bounds since leaving Arsenal in August 2012, and Leeds may well be the best place for him to continue his development.
For the time being, Swansea are still a Premier League side; but it remains a possibility that Bartley could return to the club at the end of his spell after they have been relegated to the Championship – while Leeds could replace them.
Monk will also need other defensive recruits besides Bartley, but the 25-year-old is without a doubt the perfect option.
In other Leeds transfer news, re-signing this Premier League midfielder would be the icing on the cake for Leeds’ promotion bid.