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Leeds United have had a great campaign in the EFL Championship and sit comfortably at 5th place in the standings with involvement in the playoffs for promotion all but certain.
The likes of Chris Wood, Pontus Jansson have been the main driving forces of their season under Garry Monk, but one player who has been equally pivotal and a guy who has made huge contributions to the team’s cause is goalkeeper Robert Green.
The 37-year old shot-stopper has easily been one of the finest in his position in the Championship this season and has been like a wall in between the sticks for the Whites. The veteran keeper has played all of Leeds’ 41 Championship games this term and has kept 15 clean sheets – third best in the competition behind David Stockdale (17) of Brighton & Hove Albion and Scott Carson of Derby County (16).
Having recently signed a new one-year deal with the Yorkshire based outfit, Green has shown his commitment to the side and looks set to hold on to his place for another year, even if Leeds get promoted to the Premier League. However, having a replacement ready and lined up for the seasoned pro would be a shrewd thing to do, especially so if they make it to the top division. To that end, here are two replacements for Green, that Leeds could look to sign.
The Sunderland shot-stopper has become the second-choice under David Moyes this season with the emergence of youngster Jordan Pickford who has been performing admirably.
That, combined with injuries have meant that Mannone has had to make do with a role on the bench, resulting in him making just 9 league appearances this season, in which he has kept 2 clean sheets. The former Arsenal man might not be a star name, but has been impressive in his time with the Black Cats and comes with a lot of experience in the top flight.
With his contract set to expire in the summer of 2018, he might not cost a great deal of money for Leeds and if they manage to seal promotion to Premier League, it wouldn’t be hard to convince him to move at all, especially because Sunderland are on the verge of getting relegated. At 29, he has lots of years left in him and could take over the mantle of the No.1 for years to come.
The Englishman did not feature heavily in the early parts of the season for Norwich City in the Championship, with manager Alex Neil preferring to use summer signing Michael McGovern in between the sticks.
However, he made a comeback in the middle part of the season due to some average displays by McGovern. Ruddy made most of his opportunity and has kept 7 clean sheets from 22 Championship games so far this term. The 30-year old is a seasoned campaigner with plenty of experience at the top level and was even linked with the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal two seasons back, thus indicating the stature of the stopper.
What makes him an exciting prospect is that Ruddy’s contract is set to expire at the end of the season. Norwich do have an option to extend his stay by a year, but there has been no development on that front as of yet, which could very well mean he will be available for free in the summer. If Leeds manage to secure promotion, having someone like Ruddy in goal should help them a great deal.