This time last year Leeds United were being linked with a move to bring another Swedish defender to the club from Italy. Following the success of Pontus Jansson after his switch from Torino, it was fair to say that Leeds fans were excited about the reports.
The player in question was Filip Helander.
Helander, a former team-mate of Jansson’s at Malmo, was said to be on the radar of Leeds as they sought defensive reinforcements.
As reported by talkSPORT, Leeds were hopeful of securing a deal for the Bologna player.
There were many reasons to suggest a deal was possible. Helander is good friends with Jansson. The duo also share Martin Dahlin as an agent, which would have made negotiations easy. Leeds needed a new centre-back, with Liam Cooper and Jansson both in poor form last term. The centre-back was also out of contract in 2019, meaning Bologna could have been tempted into a sale.
However, no deal materialised and Leeds will no doubt wish it had.
Whilst Cooper and Jansson have both been much better this season, they remain Leeds’ only recognised centre-backs. Whilst manager Marcelo Bielsa appears to like it that way, Leeds fans will no doubt wish the World Cup defender was also present.
Helander has played the full 90 minutes in every game he has been available for Bologna this season, missing five games with a knee strain.
He also signed a new deal in August, keeping him at the club until 2022, so Leeds’ chances of signing him currently appear done.
But they should undoubtedly keep an eye on matters. Bologna are currently threatened by relegation from Serie A and Leeds, on the other hand, are hunting promotion.
If those two events transpire, perhaps a Jansson-Helander defensive partnership could be the future for Leeds.