Noel Whelan has shed new light on Pontus Jansson’s controversial Leeds United exit by revealing deep tensions between the player and manager Marcelo Bielsa.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-United striker, who watches all of the club’s matches as a BBC radio pundit, explained how the relationship between the duo steadily deteriorated last season.
Jansson was a key player as Leeds finished third and suffered play-off heartache, for which he was named in the official Championship team of the season for his performances in central defence.
Bielsa also spoke warmly of the Sweden international in an end-of-season appraisal, but Whelan claimed that masked some off-the-field issues that were key to the Argentine giving the go-ahead for his shock £5.5million sale to Brentford.
The ex-forward has been panned by some Leeds fans for being so openly critical of Jansson since the end-of-season collapse.
“Everyone has an opinion and I’m basing my opinion on Jansson on being an ex-player watching a current player, how he plays, behaves and his body language,” Whelan said. “If people like it or not, I don’t care. It’s my opinion.
“All the fist-pumping and giving the Leeds salute means nothing. When the going got tough, Pontus Jansson went missing.”
One theory on social media is that Whelan’s straight-talking critiques, expressed predominantly to Football Insider, contributed to Leeds deciding to cash in on the Sweden international.
“If that’s the case, I will be expecting an agent’s fee,” joked Whelan. “If anybody thinks I’ve made the move possible, they are deluded.
“This transfer has been on the cards since the end of last season. I knew that anyway. Certain things happened in training, in the dressing room.
“Marcelo Bielsa has made the decision to sell based on a season working with Jansson. I know there were tensions behind the scenes on occasions. This could be down to the manager wanting the player to do certain things and the player not wanting to do them.”
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