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Championship

Leeds United fans will be wondering what has happened to Pontus Jansson’s magic hat?

The Swedish defender has been out of form for most of the 2017-18 campaign.

Mathew Coull

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Leeds United’s poor run of form has seen them drop firmly out of play-off contention in the Championship. Since Boxing Day, Leeds are bottom of the form table and look set to finish in mid-table.

Much of the blame has been laid at the door of the club’s defenders. Rightly so, Leeds have been incredibly leaky at the back and conceded heaps of soft goals. One player who must receive a large scoop of the criticism is Swedish defender Pontus Jansson.

LEEDS, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 25: Pontus Jansson of Leeds United celebrates after the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday at Elland Road on February 25, 2017 in Leeds, England.(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Last season he was a colossus at the back for Leeds. Playing alongside the more reserved Kyle Bartley, Jansson’s gung-ho displays were rightly applauded. Soon enough he became a Leeds United hero. The fans loved him and Jansson was back in the Sweden squad being linked with Premier League teams.

This season has been vastly different. Jansson has had periods of good form but overall his campaign has been mixed. His judgement has been poor this season and he often finds himself out of position. It has been suggested that Jansson needs to be playing in a settled defence to play his best.

Last season he was alongside the composed and confident Kyle Bartley with the experienced Robert Green behind him. This season he has played opposite Liam Cooper and Matthew Pennington with the erratic Felix Wiedwald in goal.

SOLNA, SWEDEN – MARCH 25: Pontus Jansson of Sweden during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Sweden and Belarus at Friends arena on March 25, 2017 in Solna, . (Photo by Nils Petter Nilsson/Ombrello/Getty Images)

Jansson himself has commented on his bad form this season but it appeared to take an upturn in December. However, the last few weeks he has been poor. Once again that was the case against Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend and Leeds fans are surely wondering where on earth the Swedish star has laid his magic hat recently.

If Jansson cannot pick up his form for Leeds soon, his place in Sweden’s World Cup squad in the summer must be up for debate. If he carries on the way he has been at Leeds, his place in the Elland Road starting XI could even be up for grabs.

Derby County

Sam Winnall to Stoke looks inevitable after Gary Rowett arrival

Josh Kerr

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Sam Winnall
Photo: Getty Images

Gary Rowett’s move to Stoke City from Derby County has added further fuel to the fire regarding Sam Winnall’s future and a potential move to Staffordshire for the new season.

The two have previously been together during their time at Burton Albion, and Rowett opted to bring the 27-year-old to Pride Park on a loan deal this season.

Winnall scored four goals in 16 Championship games for Sheffield Wednesday after arriving at Hillsborough in January 2017 from local rivals Barnsley.

He was underwhelming for the Owls initially and hence the club decided to loan him to his former manager.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Nonetheless, he has enjoyed some success at Derby this season, winning the club’s Goal of the Season award for his memorable strike against Ipswich Town back in December.

Injury has restricted Winnall to just six Championship starts but despite his time spent on the sidelines, the fans have enjoyed the Englishman’s time at Pride Park and are crying out for him to stay.

Nonetheless, Rowett’s move to Stoke was the icing on the cake for Wednesday supporters and unsurprisingly talk of a switch to the Bet365 Stadium has surfaced on social media.

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Leeds United

Leeds United should bring in free agent Nick Townsend

The former Barnsley goalkeeper has worked under Leeds United boss Paul Heckingbottom previously.

Mathew Coull

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Leeds United are said to be in the hunt for a new goalkeeper this summer. Last summer’s recruits Felix Wiedwald and Andy Lonergan both proved unsuccessful and could find themselves leaving this summer. The former is expected to return to Germany whilst the latter was offered to Sunderland in the winter but pulled the plug on the deal.

At the moment, youngster Bailey Peacock-Farrell is the number one stopper at Leeds and he has performed valiantly since being given the role.

But new recruits are expected this summer, with the likes of Angus Gunn and David Stockdale already being mentioned.

Leeds should, however, look closer to home and bring in Nick Townsend this summer.

Many Leeds fans will now be shouting who? The 23-year-old stopper is currently a free agent, with his contract at Barnsley being terminated this summer.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

He joined Barnsley from Birmingham City in 2015 and went on to play 18 games for the club in three seasons, including some under the guidance of current Leeds boss Paul Heckingbottom.

Heckingbottom was a big fan of Townsend’s, who he trusted as his main back-up stopper during his time at Oakwell. Townsend, who made the news after injuring his finger in a training ground bust-up with a team-mate earlier this year, is now on the hunt for a new challenge.

Leeds could be the perfect location. Of course, Townsend should not be considered a number one goalie. But if Leeds are to lose both Wiedwald and Lonergan this summer then they may need two new keepers in the door.

Townsend is a reliable option when called upon and one who Heckingbottom knows well and can trust.

Bringing him into the Leeds squad would be a fine piece of business as it would certainly strengthen what is a weak area of the Leeds United first-team.

It is not a deal that will blow you away, but bringing in Townsend would be a smart piece of business for Leeds United.

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Wolverhampton Wanderers

Giorgian de Arrascaeta signing would represent transfer of intent from Wolves

Josh Kerr

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Photo: getty Images

According to Fox Sports Brazil, Wolverhampton Wanderers are weighing up a bid for World Cup bound-midfielder Giorgian de Arrascaeta.

The Uruguay international, an attacking midfielder with 13 caps for his national side, is attracting the attention of many European sides who are hoping to lure him away from the Brazilian league ahead of the summer World Cup.

Wolves fans will be delighted to see themselves linked with another established name in world football and will look to the success of star man Ruben Neves as inspiration for the move.

The former Porto star was a revelation at Wolves this season, scoring six goals along the way, and was nominated for both the Player of the Year and Young Player of the Season in the Championship. Neves’s success will give fans every bit of hope that De Arrascaeta would have a similar fate should he sign for the high-achieving club.

The current Cruzeiro player has spent the last three seasons playing in Brazil’s top flight, making 73 appearances and scoring 16 goals, after making the move from Defensor Sporting in Uruguay.

(Photo by Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images)

The midfielder’s attacking flair could match that of Diego Jota, whose permanent deal from at Molineux, from Atletico Madrid, hasn’t yet been confirmed.

He would be the perfect addition for the Midlands outfit as they look to restablish themselves in England’s top-flight and ensure their continued Premier League status.

It is important that the deal gets done quickly as De Arrascaeta will soon be turning his attention to the World Cup and interest in his services is only likely to increase.

He signed a contract extension in February which runs until 2021, but the luxury of the Premier League may be enough to tempt the young Uruguayan to the Championship winners this summer.

If he signs, he would prove another useful attacking option, especially if Jota remains at the club.

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