Leeds United gave their supporters something to smile about this week when they announced on their official website that Kalvin Phillips has signed a new long-term contract.
And it appears that the Whites are not done yet. TEAMtalk then reported that the club planned to follow Phillips’s new deal by opening talks with both Stuart Dallas and Mateusz Klich.
Leeds have since confirmed on their official website that both Dallas and club captain Liam Cooper have signed new long-term deals at Elland Road.
Once those players have their futures addressed, Leeds will need to weigh up whether they also want to offer fresh terms to Gaetano Berardi.
Transfermarkt shows that the defender’s deal also expires next summer. Unlike decisions over Klich, Dallas and Pablo Hernandez – whose contract also runs out in the summer – however, deciding whether to offer Berardi fresh terms is likely to divide opinion somewhat.
Berardi is a cult-hero at Elland Road. And it is fair to say that he is another player who has improved dramatically under Bielsa.
However, he has come in for criticism. His sending off in the play-off semi-final last season cost Leeds dearly. And it perhaps highlighted that United may not ever be able to fully rely on the 31-year-old.
Nevertheless, Leeds should look to offer Berardi a fresh deal, even if it is for only one extra year.
With Bielsa maintaining a small squad, Berardi’s versatility is incredibly beneficial. He can play in either full-back role, and has been converted into a centre-back with Bielsa’s guidance.
He has done well when used this term. And it is easy to forget that he was exceptional during the opening weeks of last season, keeping Pontus Jansson out of the side.
Berardi appears to be the kind of player that Bielsa relishes having within the squad. He is humble and hardworking, and embodies the ‘Side before Self’ mantra that Leeds have adopted.
Whatever level Leeds are playing at next season, Berardi could have a role to play. So his contract situation should also be on the list of issues that the club are now looking to address.