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‘It could end up costing them promotion’ – Leeds United defensive update provided: The Verdict

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This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…

Leeds United are unlikely to go into the market to look for a replacement for Pontus Jansson after the centre-back completed a surprise move to Brentford earlier in the window.

The 28-year-old was an influential player for the Whites but joined the Bees for a fee in the region of £5.5m.

Despite his importance, Leeds are confident that they already have enough options in central defence, with Ben White arriving on loan from Brighton before Jansson had left.

Even though he is the only natural centre-back alongside Liam Cooper in the squad, reporter Phil Hay revealed that Marcelo Bielsa appears happy with what he has got, with Kalvi Phillips, Gaetano Berardi and Luke Ayling able to fill in if needed.

However, it’s not a view that many supporters share and here our writers assess how Leeds fans should be feeling after this update…

George Harbey

“From a Leeds perspective, I think that it is quite worrying that there doesn’t seem to be a replacement for Jansson.

“He didn’t have the best of seasons compared to his standards last season, but he still put in a string of solid, commanding displays for the Whites.

“He established himself as one of the best defenders in the Championship during his time at Elland Road, and has definitely left massive shoes to fill.

“Ben White is a defender who has a lot of potential and has looked impressive in pre-season, but has he got the experience and character to step up to the plate in Jansson’s absence? I’m not so sure.”

Toby Wilding

“I imagine they will be incredibly concerned.

“Jansson was a huge presence at the back for Leeds last season, and throughout his time at the club, and that leadership and influence would surely have been crucial as they look to push for promotion again next season.

“With a replacement apparently unlikely, it may be 21-year-old Brighton loan Ben White who steps in alongside Liam Cooper next season, which could generate a few nerves amongst Leeds fans, given the centre back’s relative lack of experience at any level, let alone the Championship.

“Having started the transfer window so promisingly with the arrivals of the likes of Helder Costa, things seem to have tailed off somewhat in recent weeks with speculation around a number of key players, and with no quick response to Jansson’s departure, that won’t instil much confidence around the club should other key players also head for pastures new.”

Chris Gallagher

“They should be infuriated.

“It’s ridiculous that they are going to go into the new season with just two recognised centre-backs. On top of that, one of those is Ben White who is unproven at this level.

“The Jansson sale seemed bizarre at the time, particularly for the reported £5.5m fee, so the only way Leeds could come out of that situation well was if they had a quality replacement lined up.

“The fact they don’t is incredibly poor from all concerned at the club and the fans have every right to ask what on earth is going on. There will be no other side in the Championship who will have a full-back as the third choice centre-back. The fans will know it could end up costing them promotion.”

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