Former Leeds United midfielder Vurnon Anita has been discussing his time at the club and why it never proved to be a successful stint at Elland Road.
Anita joined Leeds on a free transfer following his release by Newcastle United in 2017.
It looked a solid signing by the club, with Thomas Christiansen clearly of the belief the utility player could bring strength to several positions at Elland Road. In fact, given Anita had helped the Magpies to Championship promotion the previous season, Leeds’ Spanish coach confirmed to Sky Sports his belief the Dutchman could have a similar impact in West Yorkshire and declared himself ‘very, very pleased’ with the deal.
Unfortunately, Anita failed to nail down a regular position, Leeds changed managers halfway through the season and the Dutchman also underwent ankle surgery.
Marcelo Bielsa’s arrival precipitated his ultimate Leeds demise, with the Argentine deciding Anita was not suitable to his playing style and Anita was loaned to Willem II back in his native Holland before having his contract cancelled by mutual consent last September.
Speaking to VoetbalZone, he explained why he decided to join Leeds in the first place and then expressed his disappointment after recovering from his injury and having a decent spell at Willem II, only to be told he still had no future at the club.
“They really wanted me and I thought: why not? I had played against Leeds before and it was always a good club, a difficult opponent. Of course I hoped that I would play a lot and become champion, that was the goal. Now there is more stability in the team and the club. When I came, there were just new owners and trainers…
“…I wanted to see how it would go after the operation and Willem II gave me that opportunity…I needed that period to feel the way I feel now, like old Vurnon. It was a kind of recovery year, so to speak.
“When I returned from Willem II, I immediately felt that there was little perspective at Leeds. That’s okay, that year at Willem II made me stronger and I was able to show myself again. But unfortunately I didn’t get the chance at Leeds anymore.”
Anita was, unfortunately, a victim of circumstance at Leeds. Injury did not help but neither did his struggles in various different positions or the managerial upheaval in the 2017-18 campaign.
Since leaving Leeds, Anita trained with Jong Ajax, was linked with a shock Roma move before eventually finding himself a new club with Bulgarian outfit CSKA Sofia in February. That proved short-lived, with his short-term contract cancelled after Bulgarian football was stopped due to the global health crisis.
But hopefully, once football is back up and running and with free agents likely to be dominating the transfer market, Anita can find himself a place to call home again and find his best form.