By Amir Mir
Andy Ritchie has urged Leeds to sign defender Kyle Bartley on a permanent basis during the summer transfer window from Premier League side Swansea City.
The 25-year-old has been on a season-long loan from the Welsh outfit and has impressed the Elland Road faithful with his performances.
Ritchie likened Bartley to Rio Ferdinand by stating that he “reminds” him of the former Leeds man because of the way he plays from the back.
As a result, he wants the Premier League ace to be a regular member of the team next season as they aim to make another promotion push.
“I think it’s a big thing for them that they try to sign Bartley on a permanent deal from Swansea City,” Ritchie told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“And while I am not going to get too out of the woods here, he reminds me a little bit of Rio Ferdinand with the way he plays in terms of he wants to play out from the back but he knows what to do and when to do it. He’s a clever footballer.”
Bartley has formed an impressive partnership with fan favourite Pontus Jansson at the heart of the club’s defence this term.
The duo played alongside each other for the first time in their careers but under the guidance of manager Garry Monk, they excelled, particularly, at home.
Over the course of the season, Bartley has played 49 matches in all competitions for the Yorkshire club, scoring an impressive six goals from 44 league games.
He has helped his team beat the likes of Sheffield Wednesday, Brighton, Reading and Derby this term, but that was not enough as Leeds missed out on a top-six spot.
They will travel to already relegated Wigan on Sunday afternoon, looking to end the season on a high.
In other Leeds news, the club should make a swoop for this Liverpool 19-year-old in the summer.