Marcelo Bielsa has claimed that ex-Leeds United defender Pontus Jansson was the best player at Elland Road last season.
The 28-year-old centre-back departed the Whites this summer, as he joined Championship club Brentford for £5.5million plus add ons (Yorkshire Evening Post).
He had been a big fan favourite during his three-year spell with the Yorkshire club and he’s a real powerhouse in defence.
Bielsa has admitted that Jansson was sold to help adhere to financial fair player regulations, but also made the intriguing observation that he was the outstanding individual in the group last year.
“Jansson left, everyone knows. Jansson was the best player last season,” Bielsa said in his press conference, as quoted by Leeds Live.
“You know that the club needs to sell players to adapt to FFP (financial fair play) and be healthy and the league is equal. So we lose the best player of last season but we are adapting to the rules and that is very important.”
Bielsa’s comments around Jansson are eye-catching and they will surely send a clear message to the current Leeds group.
The Argentinian manager has made a point of stressing the defender’s importance last season, and it looks like he will want a reaction from his players to step up their game.
There is an argument to say that the likes of Pablo Hernandez and Mateusz Klich were the standouts, but there is no doubting Jansson was a real leader at the back.
It could be up to captain Liam Cooper and new addition Ben White to make up the centre-back combination, while versatile duo Luke Ayling and Gaetano Berardi could slot in too.
Leeds will be keen to show they can still compete for promotion despite the exit of Jansson, which is exactly what Bielsa’s comments may have been intended for.