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The Portuguese centre-back has been of interest to the English Clubs for a while now. The player himself seems to prefer a move to either the Premier League (preferably) or the Championship with Derby, Reading and Leeds all credited with an interest in him. It’s the latter who could do with him the most. Kyle Bartley’s loan is going to be up soon and the Elland Road outfit having no guarantees yet of holding on to Pontus Jansson and Liam Cooper.
The 24-year-old defender is captain at Setubal these days and in fact was born there. He’s been a one-club man thus far but his career looks to be at crossroads now. More exposure in England will help him to get a place in the full Portugal squad (he has been capped at under-21 level) before next year’s World Cup.
Since his breakthrough season in 2013/14, Venancio has gone on to make 128 appearances for Setubal and is getting better with every few months that pass. Whoever wins his signature over the summer can count on the fact that this time next year they will have a player worth more money than they’ve paid out. For Leeds, that will simply be a bonus though as its quality in defence that they need right now.
Garry Monk seems to have resigned himself to the fact that, with no promotion secured, he will lose defenders over the coming weeks and the club need to show ambition. Venancio would be that ambitious signing. Given that there are safer options already proven in the English leagues available, those players would not necessarily take Leeds forward as a club.
Signing a player out of the Portuguese league can be a risk, but when the risk pays off you may have an international-class defender on your hands and this is where Leeds need to take the lead among next year’s Championship promotion hopefuls. Bartley has been excellent for Leeds at this level this season but that is the point; he’s found his level.
Leeds would do well to remember that even though Bartley staying at the club would be good news in the short to medium term, he frankly would not be the quality of defender who could keep them in the Premier League should they get there and so they need to think outside the box rather. Venancio is tall, classy, experienced and is still improving. So he has all the hallmarks of a player who can go the distance in England. Even if Jansson and Cooper stay, they are comfortable on the left-hand side of the central defence, which may affect the balance of the side. Venancio can fill this position perfectly as he is right footed.