By Pontus Jansson’s own admission, he’s currently a shadow of the brick-nutting cult hero that had Leeds United fans roaring his name last season.
The iron-headed Swedish centre-back has been well below the standards he set in 2016/17 during a dismal run of three straight defeats that has destroyed the optimism that followed The Whites’ excellent start to the new campaign.
A member of the Championship Team of the Year last season, Jansson took to Instagram to admit that his form has been, well, a four-letter adjective beginning with S during the week.
Whether this is a classic case of second season syndrome or the fact that Jansson lost his defensive partner of last season, Kyle Bartley, is up for debate. As is the question whether or not Leeds should have cashed in on the fans’ favourite over the summer.
Leeds only sealed Jansson on a permanent deal from Italian side Torino in June, as reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post, but an agreement to make the loan official for £3.5 million was done as far back as February.
Nonetheless, this did not prevent Southampton attempting to stick their oar in. Sky Sports claimed in April that The Saints, who have tracked Jansson since his Malmo days, were hoping to lure Jansson to St Mary’s as a potential replacement for Virgil van Dijk.
If Leeds had seen Jansson’s current struggles coming, they might have been tempted by the prospect of tripling their money in the summer. At the time, however, selling a fans’ favourite weeks after missing out on promotion and losing popular manager Garry Monk would not have been advisable for new owner Massimo Radrizzani.
Leeds, then, harbour hope that Jansson will be nutting bricks again in no time.