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Three Leeds United players at risk of facing the axe this summer

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Leeds United

Three Leeds United players at risk of facing the axe this summer

There will undoubtedly be a clear out at Elland Road this summer.

Leeds United have endured a nightmare of results in recent weeks that has seen their post-Christmas form up there with the worst in the league.

Paul Heckingbottom’s side were sitting comfortably in the play-off positions before the Xmas period.

However, poor results and low morale saw the Whites slip all the way down to 13th, missing out on their top six target which Andrea Radrizzani set the club last summer.

Last week, Heckingbottom called for ‘major surgery with the minimal amount of signings’ after their final game at the weekend and this means the Leeds boss will be having a major clear out this summer.

However, the club have no senior first-teamers out of contract this summer, following Pablo Hernandez’s new deal, which means they will have to find other means to get the squad Heckingbottom desires to challenge for the play-offs next season.

The Leeds boss also reiterated that contract situations will not stop the club from offloading players in the summer who haven’t met the required standard this season.

So, which three players are most at risk of being part of the clear out process at Elland Road?

Vurnon Anita

Vurnon Anita is a player Heckingbottom has tried to deploy in a number of positions, in an attempt to maximize the 29-year-old’s potential. However, it simply hasn’t worked out.

Signed on a free, Anita’s versatility and experience in the Premier League had Leeds fans particularly excited.

It appeared they had found themselves a bargain. After all, the Holland international had just gained promotion with Newcastle United the previous season.

Anita has been used at right-back for the majority of his debut season. However, he has also featured on the left side of defence and in midfield.

The Dutchman has been so exposed at the back, that even centre-half Matthew Pennington has been used as cover for the Leeds flop.

 

At right-back, the Whites have Gaetano Berardi, Luke Ayling and Lewie Coyle, who is due to come back from loan with Fleetwood Town.

The club is well equipped at right-back and fully stocked in midfield.

Therefore, it is difficult to see any clear future for the former Magpies star at Elland Road and a likely departure is expected.

Eunan O’Kane

(Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

A player whose individual errors have surely spelt the end of his career at Elland Road.

The no. 14 midfielder has been at fault for a number of goals this season and patience is wearing thin with the Leeds supporters.

Formerly of Bournemouth, O’Kane has been very much under-par this season.

His reckless headbutt at Ipswich, both goals at Sheffield United and an own goal against Reading have capped off a miserable season for the 27-year-old.

Reports from the Yorkshire Evening Post have also confirmed that O’Kane was absent from the Whites trip to Myanmar, which could mean his manager has had enough of the midfielder and transfer speculation will undoubtedly begin to unfold.

Felix Wiedwald

(Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

Another squad member emitted from the Myanmar trip, the 28-year-old goalkeeper has had his fair share of chances to cement his place as the Whites first choice ‘keeper.

However, despite finishing only his debut season with the club, it looks more and more likely that Wiedwald may be in the club’s clear-out plans.

Wiedwald joined Leeds last summer from Werder Bremen, but he has had a very difficult first season at the Yorkshire club. His demotion from the starting line-up in March was the second time the German has been dropped from the first-team this season.

The former German under-20’s international was thrown straight in at the deep end after being announced as Leeds’ number one at the start of the campaign. However, he made a number of errors and never really recovered from his shaky start.

It has since seen him dropped from the team and many fans are predicting he may never return to Elland Road.

I am a freelance sports journalist currently studying sports journalism at Staffordshire University with a passion for all things football. I'm a keen supporter of Liverpool Football Club, as well as my local side Forest Green Rovers. I've worked for online newspaper VAVEL UK as well as a media assistant for Chester FC in the Vanarama National League.

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