COMMENT By Matt Farr
Garry Monk left Leeds United fans shocked and heartbroken at his decision to resign as manager of the club last month.
The 38-year-old departed Elland Road after just one year in charge of the club, where he led them to a seventh-placed finish in the Championship.
However, with Monk turning his back on talks over an extended deal at the club, he now looks certain to be appointed the new manager at rivals Middlesbrough, following their relegation from the Premier League.
Radio Yorkshire journalist Derek Clark had claimed on his personal Twitter account on Saturday that Monk had agreed a deal with Boro and would take over at the club in the “next few days”.
But ahead of his reportedly imminent arrival at one of Leeds’ Championship rivals, Football Insider reveals three ways that Monk could now look to hurt his former employers.
The 26-year-old defender spent last season on loan at Leeds, and was one of Monk’s most consistent, and most reliable performers.
Monk had earlier worked alongside Bartley at Swansea, and moved to continue his affiliation with the centre-back during his short time at Elland Road.
However, Monk’s departure from Leeds last month all but ruled out the possibility of Bartley returning to the club for an extended spell next season.
But Bartley could instead be re-united with Monk at Middlesbrough this summer, if Swansea boss Paul Clement chooses to sanction a move.
Middlesbrough are likely to pursue defensive reinforcements after losing regular first-teamer Calum Chambers to Arsenal, following the expiry of his loan spell.
Meanwhile, Ben Gibson could seal a move back to the Premier League, and Monk may pursue a trusted performer in Bartley as a potential replacement.
Leeds had looked a candidate for promotion last season, with the club sitting comfortable in the play-offs for much of the campaign.
However, a miserable run of form at the end of the season, where they won just two of their last 10 league games, saw them drop out of the play-off, and promotion, race.
The Yorkshire-club could struggle to replicate their form without him at the helm next season, while he could instead inject the confidence needed at the Riverside to see Middlesbrough bounce back with promotion.
Middlesbrough gave a disappointing showing in the top-flight last season, where they finished 19th in the table with just five wins from their 38 matches.
However, they still boast a strong squad, and potentially with the added knowledge of Monk next season, could be a good bet to be among the top sides in the second-tier – and to rival Leeds.
Leeds fans saw their side come so close to fulfilling their promotion dream last term, so achieving promotion at their expense with Boro next season could be the ultimate insult.
Similarly with Bartley, Monk’s departure from Elland Road could also have negative ramifications for the future of goalscorer Chris W00d.
Monk brought out the best in the 25-year-old goalscorer last season, where he scored 30 goals from 48 appearances in all competitions.
But his fine form has caught the eye of several Premier League clubs, and Wood could be tempted to follow Monk out the exit door and seek a fresh challenge.
There is even the possibility that Monk could consider a bid to snatch his former hitman away from Leeds this summer, given Middlesbrough’s own goalscoring struggles.
They managed to score just 27 league goals last term, arguably the main reason behind their relegation fate, and Monk could back Wood to change that.
In other Leeds United news, fans have reacted to a tweet posted by assistant manager Pep Clotet following Monk’s departure.