Leeds United have terminated the contract of Vurnon Anita by mutual consent, bringing an end to the Dutchman’s two-year stint at Elland Road.
The Whites shared the news via their club website on Monday afternoon, as the former Newcastle man departs the club having made just 22 appearances in all competitions.
Anita has never featured in Marcelo Bielsa’s plans at the club as he was not given a squad number before the start of the 2018/19 season and then spent the season out on loan at Dutch side Willem II.
The versatile full-back returned to West Yorkshire this summer, but he has again not been able to force his way into Bielsa’s plans and the club has now parted company with the player to allow him to find a new club.
So, did Leeds make the right call to cut ties with Anita? We take a closer look at the stats…
Anita only featured for Leeds in the 2017/18 season, during which time he played just 1759 minutes of football as he was often in and out of the Whites’ side. He was commonly played at full-back and sometimes in defensive midfield, but he ultimately failed to make any of these positions his own over the course of the season.
The 30-year-old did not contribute any goals or assists during his time at Elland Road, which is not all too surprising given that he largely played in defence. However, this statistic underlines the fact that Anita’s stint at the club will not be remembered fondly by the fan base, as he failed to make any tangible positive contribution throughout his two years in Yorkshire.
However, Anita is someone who is comfortable on the ball and this is displayed in his 81.3% passing accuracy during the 2017/18 season. He also won 52.5% of his duels for Leeds, which is a solid return and reveals that he does have the potential to be defensively sound when he is at his best. This suggests that Anita was someone who certainly could have succeeded in Bielsa’s possession-based playing style at Elland Road, but the Argentine clearly felt that Anita was not someone who suited his vision for the club.
It should also be noted that Anita only registered a 10% crossing accuracy while playing largely in a full-back role. This is a poor record for a wing player and perhaps suggests that full-back was not the best position for him to specialise in at Leeds. It may also provide some insight into why Bielsa did not want Anita in his plans, as Bielsa would like his full-backs to move forward with the ball often.