Newcastle United’s decision not to renew Vurnon Anita’s contract at the end of last season is looking increasingly like a bad one.
The Dutchman is renowned for his ability to play in a variety of different positions, namely right-back, left-back and defensive midfield, and was a key player as Rafael Benitez’s side edged towards the Championship title last season.
And with injuries to both Paul Dummett and Chancel Mbemba currently stretching Newcastle’s defensive options to their limit, Anita’s versatility could have come in handy.
Instead, however, their loss looks like Leeds United’s gain. One of the clubs’ more understated summer signings, the former Ajax youngster enjoyed arguably his best outing in Leeds colours during Tuesday’s 2-0 win at Birmingham City which put Thomas Christiansen’s side top of the table.
Anita was a regular at right-back for Newcastle last season but each of his five starts for the Yorkshire giants have come on the left. And the 28-year-old’s reliable performances have helped Leeds fans forget all about the man who once starred on their left.
Charlie Taylor emerged through Leeds’ famed academy and earned rave reviews for his performances in the first-team before rejecting the offer of a new deal and joining Burnley in the summer for a compensation fee of £5 million, as reported by The Mail.
And it’s fair to say Taylor didn’t exactly leave with the blessing of supporters after refusing to play in the final game of last the season against Wigan Athletic. So far, he has not played a single minute of Premier League football for The Clarets.
However, Anita has stepped into his shoes impressively. Though not exactly blessed with the same technical ability and pinpoint crossing, Anita provides that balance and steel required to give Leeds’ attacking players the freedom to shine.
Not bad for a free transfer.