Pontus Jansson’s departure to Brentford comes as an enormous blow to Leeds United’s automatic promotion chances, but it was not the only knockback Marcelo Bielsa suffered on Monday.
Jansson, 28, confirmed his move to Championship rivals Brentford for a measly £5.5million. It is believed the relationship between the Swede and Bielsa had deteriorated, and led to Bielsa wanting him gone.
But it was not the only blow. That is because Bielsa’s chance of a reunion with Ander Iturraspe at Elland Road is now completely over, after the Spain international opted against a move to Leeds in favour of La Liga side Espanyol.
Leeds have been linked with Iturraspe for quite some time now, after managing just five appearances for Athletic Bilbao last season. He was released by the club, constantly being linked with Leeds and Greek side PAOK.
According to a report from El Desmarque in Spain, Iturraspe was open to a Leeds move. But a fortnight later, and Espanyol have confirmed the signing of the 30-year-old free agent on Twitter.
— RCD Espanyol de Barcelona (@RCDEspanyol) July 8, 2019
TBR’s view – Leeds may regret missing out on Iturraspe
That is because Aston Villa remain very interested in signing Kalvin Phillips. The Premier League side are breathing down Leeds necks and are willing to offer a big eight-figure fee to sign the midfielder.
Phillips was crucial for the Whites last season as the club’s holding midfielder, and Leeds do not really have anyone else capable of doing the role. Adam Forshaw tried and failed.
Signing Iturraspe would have been the perfect replacement, on a free. But instead, he has chosen Espanyol and Leeds will have to wait and see if Phillips will remain at Elland Road.