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‘That is a class signing’ – After an impressive reaction upon Leeds United arrival, it didn’t go to plan

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Having finished seventh in the Championship the year prior, Leeds were heading into the 2017/18 campaign looking to improve and progress under Thomas Christiansen.

Three points was the difference between the Whites making the post-season lottery that is the play-offs and a potential crack at promotion to the Premier League and them ultimately remaining in the second tier.

In order to improve and progress further up the league to make that a reality ahead of the new campaign, Leeds needed to recruit.

The squad needed bolstering if they were to have strength in depth and mount a real charge towards the top flight.

There was a swarm of new signings during Christiansen’s first summer at the helm.

But one that stood out as one of the more impressive was the capture of a midfielder on July 6, 2017.

Having been released from the Magpies, Vernon Anita arrived at the Championship club on a free transfer.

The former Newcastle man signed a three-year deal at Elland Road and was the club’s sixth summer signing.

And that sparked an impressive reaction from the club’s supporters.

There was a groundswell of support for the Dutch international’s arrival, with many Leeds fans purring at the prospect of having the former Premier League man at the club.

Having had such a positive reaction upon signing, Anita was one to keep an eye on for the Elland Road faithful as they looked to go one better than the previous year.

In truth, the move, on paper, looked to be spectacular with a horde of Newcastle fans also commenting on the move as one that would improve Leeds no-end.

But there were forces at work that conspired against the move being a real showstopper.

Anita made his Leeds debut as a substitute in the first half win over Bolton on the opening day of the season but was played at left-back when he was more suited to a midfield role.

His first start came three days later in the League Cup win over Port Vale.

Due to the injuries picked up by Gaetano Berardi and Laurens De Bock during the season, the Netherlands international was used as a left or right full-back a lot of the time.

In a position unnatural to the midfielder, he was played in an alien role for much of the campaign.

He made 22 appearances during his debut season, failing to score for the club after being used in a more defensive role than he and many fans would have been accustomed to.

It was a tough first year but even after the sacking of Christensen, under Paul Heckingbottom’s use for the player was infrequent and again, out of normal positioning.

Leeds finished 13th that year after a dismal post-Christmas run saw them collapse and tumble down the table away from promotion contention.

Having seen Heckingbottom leave in the summer, Anita would have been hoping for another clean slate and a place in the middle of the pitch for the 2018/19 season.

But what he got was a clear message from new manager Marcelo Bielsa.

On July 26, 2018, Leeds announced their squad numbers for the season with Anita not given one. 

That more or less signalled the end of his career at Elland Road after just one year.

And on August 31, 2018, a temporary move away from the club was confirmed.

Anita moved back to Holland and signed for Willem II on loan for the season.

The news of his departure was met with a heartfelt response, one with the overriding feeling that he was not given a fair chance.

You would have to agree with these Leeds supporters as, due to injuries and other factors, Anita was played out of position for most of the season and that was to his detriment, and it turned out to be the downfall of his career with the club.

He never got a fair crack to play in the position he had excelled in during his time at Newcastle United to show his best and what he had to offer.

It was a signing that promised so much but was unable to deliver due to forces beyond Anita’s control.


ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: ‘That is a class signing’ – After an impressive reaction upon Leeds United arrival, it didn’t go to plan

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