Why Leeds Should Complete A Permanent Move For Kyle Bartley
Having somewhat surprisingly missed out on a play-off place to Fulham having been in a good position for most of the season, there will be a post-mortem at Leeds United over the next few weeks.
After they have disciplined Taylor for refusing to play at Wigan, the club will eventually say goodbye to the left-back along with a few other members of the squad. Replacements will be needed and reinforcements are required to help them make the step up to title contenders.
What cannot be underestimated though is the need to keep hold of what quality they already have at their disposal. Kyle Bartley has been a rock for Leeds in the backline this season and it has been easy to forget at times that he is only on loan from Swansea City.
Should the Swans get relegated to the EFL Championship, it will be easier for Leeds to get a deal done for the €1 million rated Bartley. The former Rangers man will be in demand though after an impressive season with Leeds. So Leeds should act quickly to tie down the man under a contract until the end of May.
Although Pontus Jansson appears to be top dog across most of the defensive stats for Leeds this season, Bartley is not far behind and the two have a great understanding. Only the big Swede makes more blocks and more clearances per game than the Manchester-born defender and he shares 2nd place with the same player on aerial battles won (though Sol Bamba is above them with only 2 appearances made).
His quality is not in question at this level and it would be a big advantage for Leeds to be able to keep some continuity. The Elland Road club are far from guaranteed to be able to get another defender as good as Bartley and even if they do, it would mean yet another new player having to settle in at the club and prove his commitment to the cause.
Bartley doesn’t lack anything in that regard. At Rangers, he was fiercely competitive, especially during Old Firm games, and understands the thoughts of the fans of the clubs that he represents. Taking a chance on a replacement defender knowing how important the various Yorkshire derbies are, as well as showing the sort of quality needed to keep their team in the title race is not a risk Leeds would want to take right now.