In-demand Premier League defender wants to join Leeds after Monk sanctions offer - report
By Tom Blackburn
Joel Ekstrand has elected to join Leeds over Championship rivals Reading and Bristol City, according to a report.
Football Insider reported on Saturday morning that Leeds were closing in on the deal, with a growing possibility that it could be confirmed by Monday.
Swedish TV station Fotbollskanalen claim that Ekstrand has had a number offers but has decided that Leeds would be the home of his Championship return.
The 27-year-old defender is wanted at Elland Road by Whites manager Garry Monk, who is looking to secure another defensive option for the forthcoming Championship campaign.
Ekstrand is a free agent following his release by Premier League Watford at the end of the 2015-16 season and would land at the Yorkshire giants without a fee.
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If Leeds were to get a deal over the line for the centre-back he would become new boss Monk’s second Swedish signing for the club.
Striker Marcus Antonsson put pen to paper on a three-year deal with Leeds this summer, joining from Swedish side Kalmar for an undisclosed fee.
Ekstrand joined Watford from Udinese in 2012 where he made 100 appearances for the club during his four-year stay.
The Swedish defender experienced three years of Championship football at Vicarage Road and played a key role in Watford’s promotion year during the 2014-15 season where he featured in 25 encounters for the club.
However, during the successful campaign Ekstrand suffered a cruciate ligament injury and did not feature for the club again before being released in the summer of 2016.
In other Leeds news, they are close to naming an unnamed winger as their latest signing.