Laurens De Bock has aimed a thinly-veiled dig at Leeds United during in an interview with the Sunderland Echo, suggesting that a change in management immediately after joining the Whites was the reason for flopping at Elland Road.
De Bock, 27, joined Leeds in January 2018 from Club Brugge, for a reported £1.5million (YEP). The left-sided defender, who had been called up by Belgium’s national squad in the past, was seen as the answer to Leeds’ left-back woes.
Indeed, De Bock has even been seen in the Champions League, playing against Leicester. But after joining on January 10, De Bock’s time at Leeds took a turn for the worse when Thomas Christiansen was sacked – less than a month later.
Paul Heckingbottom was brought to Leeds, and De Bock played four times for the new manager. But from mid-March, he was ostracised and has since been frozen out by Marcelo Bielsa. De Bock suggests the change scuppered his Leeds chances.
“It’s a pity, but it’s not the first time I’ve been in this situation,” De Bock said, when asked about the switch between Jack Ross and Phil Parkinson. “I’ve had it before when I’ve come to a new club and then after two weeks, a new manager comes in. It’s never easy, but I’m just trying to prove myself in training.”
TBR’s view – De Bock still on the books, but Leeds return is unlikely
De Bock was one of many signings made by Victor Orta that have backfired. Bringing a number of players in during his early years at Leeds, Orta handed out big0-money, long-term contracts to the likes of De Bock.
What Orta did not compensate for was that some of these players would struggle. In fact, many have. De Bock is joined on a lengthy list that also includes Vurnon Anita, Pawel Cibicki, Yosuke Ideguchi, Ouasim Bouy and many more.
De Bock has a contract at Leeds until the summer of 2022. But the chances are that De Bock will leave permanently at the end of his Sunderland loan – or indeed be released by the Whites.