Well, this was predictable.
A report from The Yorkshire Evening Post suggests that Swansea City’s Kyle Bartley, who spent last year on loan at Leeds United playing under Garry Monk, is a target for Middlesbrough, Monk’s new club.
Find someone who looks at you the way Garry Monk looks at Kyle Bartley. pic.twitter.com/OT1XKwBTyu— gibgod (@gibgod) June 15, 2017
Bartley formed a formidable partnership in the centre of defense for Leeds last season, and many expected United to try and make the loan deal permanent during the summer transfer season. Leeds has already made the deal for his partner, Pontus Jansson, permanent, despite Torino, Jansson’s former club, making a complaint to FIFA over the transfer deal.
Now that Monk has gone north to that dodgy little club by the river, he apparently is in for a happy reunion with the player he has coached at both Swansea and Leeds. Of course, with Ben Gibson already a star at centreback for Boro, Bartley may find playing time hard to come by at the Riverside Stadium. The other starting centreback, Daniel Ayala, is also entrenched as a starter. However, if Gibson is sold on to a Premier League club, as has been rumored, the defense at Boro will take a huge hit, as he is literally the heart and soul of the club.
However, given that the new manager at Swansea, Paul Clement, is unwilling to commit to any additional move for Bartley until he has personally witnessed him in action in training, all of this speculation might be in vain. After all, the Welsh club barely escaped the drop themselves, and after the departure last year of Ashley Williams to Everton, the defensive holes were laid bare for all to see at the Liberty Stadium. Bartley’s standout campaign at Leeds might see him resurrect his career at his parent club, not spend another year out on loan.
Either way, it appears that Leeds United will need to move on and find a new central defender to partner with Jansson. Who knows, maybe the new manager will have a central defender or two that he’s worked with in the past that can make it in the Championship.