Many Newcastle United supporters were left a little bemused by the club’s decision not to renew Vurnon Anita’s contract, letting him walk away for free at the end of last season.
The Dutchman was hardly the most inspirational or technically gifted player at the club but his versatility meant he was a Swiss army knife of a player, one that could come in handy in any situation.
Anita’s tenacity and ball winning ability meant he was more than useful in central midfield while also filling in on the right or left of defence when required. Yet, according to the Yorkshire Evening Post, he may have a more settled position at his new club, Leeds United.
Anita started his career as a left-back with Ajax
The report claims that new manager Thomas Christiansen sees Anita as a full-back rather than a midfielder and deployed him on the right of a back four in the pre-season clash with North Ferriby last week.
Therefore, this means the right hand side of Leeds’ defence appears well-stocked with Anita battling Luke Ayling, one of the most consistent players for Garry Monk last season, for a place in the starting XI.
Consequently, you wonder whether Leeds need to pay a fee of £2.5 million to land Wolves’ flyer Matt Doherty this summer. The Sun (page 61, July 9th) claimed that The Whites were interested in the Republic of Ireland full-back, who netted four goals and set up another four last season.
His natural position is right-back, though that is one of the strongest areas of Leeds’ squad.
On the flipside, however, Doherty is a hugely versatile player and started the majority of his games last season on the left-hand side, a position he has grown increasingly accustomed to in the last 18 months.
Doherty is one of the Championship's most dangerous attacking full-backs
And Leeds have far fewer options on the left with Gaetano Berardi, himself a naturally right-sided player, currently the club’s only senior left-back. However, Macedonian international Ezgjan Alioski can play there when required and only started featuring in a more attacking role last season.
All in all, you wonder whether £2.5 million could be better spent elsewhere.
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