PONTUS JANSSON has expressed his desire to seal a permanent move to Leeds United at the earliest opportunity, with a loan switch from Torino re-igniting the defender’s love for football.
Jansson has proved a revelation since signing on a season-long loan from Serie A with his performances at centre-back alongside Kyle Bartley helping propel Leeds up the Championship ladder.
After guiding United to another clean sheet in last Saturday’s 2-0 success at home to Aston Villa, Garry Monk’s Whites now sit fourth ahead of tomorrow night’s trip to second-placed Brighton – where an away win would elevate United another place into third.
Jansson’s input has not gone unnoticed with the Swedish international drawing plenty of admirers and potential suitors, with Watford among the Premier League clubs believed to be interested in securing his services.
But at the time of Jansson’s arrival on loan, United owner Massimo Cellino negotiated an option with Torino giving Leeds the right to purchase the defender once he had made 20 appearances for the Whites and the centre-back is already set to make his 15th outing on Friday at Brighton.
The 25-year-old has also ruled out any possibility of returning to Torino – admitting his stint at the Serie A club “ended badly” – with the six-foot-five footballer enjoying a new lease of life in English football. The Swede is now desperately hoping to make the switch to the English game permanent, with the Whites defender insisting he only has eyes for Leeds. Asked if he wanted his move to Leeds being made permanent sooner rather than later, Jansson admitted: “Yes, sooner. I’m really happy to be here and Leeds have changed my football life again.
“I feel happy to play football and I feel the love for the sport. I’m thankful for that.
“I only know that I feel good and I’m glad to be here. Every day I’m happy to play football again. We’ll have to see what happens.
“We will see what’s happening, I’m very happy to be here, but going back to Torino, no.”
Torino signed Jansson from Malmo FF back in August 2014 but the defender made only 13 league starts for the Serie A side before joining Leeds on a season-long loan in August.
It is thought that the defender would cost United around £3.5m in January – and the centre back sees no future at Torino.
“I don’t actually want to talk about it because everything ended in a bad way there,” said Jansson.
“Every day now when I go to my car and drive to the training ground here I’m so happy to play.
“I want it to be this way.
“When you don’t play every game and you’re out of the team, you can’t have that feeling.
“You would play every game. That’s how I am.
“You play football for a reason – I want to play and I want to win games and when you’re not playing you don’t feel that you are important for the team.
“When the team win, you can’t feel that happy because you’re not on the pitch. That’s how I am. I’m so happy that I can help Leeds to win games.”
Leeds have now won 10 of their last 13 under Monk, despite having recently been without several key players through injury, notably captain Liam Bridcutt, midfielder Eunan O’Kane and No 10 playmaker Pablo Hernandez.
Hernandez and almost certainly Bridcutt are still out of tomorrow’s trip to Brighton, while O’Kane is a doubt though Monk remains “hopeful” the Irishman will be available to play a part at The Amex.
Republic Of Ireland international O’Kane missed last Saturday’s 2-0 win at home to Aston Villa with a recurring groin problem but the Irishman is due to resume training with Leeds today.
His participation remains in the balance but Bridcutt looks set to be given more time to continue his own comeback from injury having broken a bone in his foot in the middle of September.
Liam Cooper, who missed last weekend’s Villa clash with an ankle injury, is definitely available having returned to training this week but Hernandez and right-back Lewie Coyle remain sidelined with hamstring and knee injuries respectively.
“Eunan is still a doubt but we are very hopeful that he’s going to be available and involved at the weekend,” said Whites head coach Monk.
Explaining the latest situation with Bridcutt, Monk revealed: “Liam is back in training and he has come back in a good condition. But we have to do the right thing by Liam. When I feel he is at the right level to compete for the games then he will be back involved but I don’t think as we speak right now that he’s ready or available for a game.
“We will assess him daily. Everyone else is exactly the same as what we were but Liam Cooper is back in training so he is back fit.
“The rest is the same. Pablo is still out for maybe a couple more weeks and Coyley is obviously out for a little bit longer than that.”