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Season Grade: Vurnon Anita

Things just never clicked for the Dutchman at Leeds

Newport County v Leeds United - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Expectation

In a PR stunt that, look back now, overhyped his value, Leeds United announced the signing of Vurnon Anita during their kit reveal before the season. He came over from Newcastle on a free after being deemed surplus to requirements by Rafa Benitez, signing a three-year deal. Having achieved promotion with Newcastle the season prior, the expectation was that Anita would in some way help Leeds contend for promotion, which seemed like a reasonable possibility at the time. He became Leeds’ sixth signing of the summer, after Felix Wiedwald, Mateusz Klich, Hadi Sacko, Madger Gomes, and Pontus Jansson signed permanently.

Performance

Due to injuries to regular fullbacks Luke Ayling, Gaetano Berardi, and Laurens De Bock, Anita was used as right or left-back during the season. Everywhere you look for Anita’s position, it always says that he’s a mid/defensive mid who can play as a back, not the other way around. I don’t believe Anita was brought into the club to play as a back, he was just forced to play there. But unfortunately, he was forced to play there, and the results weren’t pretty. You may have caught on that we like to call him ‘Toast’ on this blog, because he’s always getting burned. He suited up for 18 Championship appearances, 3 Carabao Cup matches, and 1 FA Cup game as well.

Leicester City v Leeds United - Carabao Cup Fourth Round Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Season Grade: D

Had Anita played as poorly as he had while trying to claim a spot in midfield, it’d be an easy F. Maybe i’m too optimistic, but I’d like to think that Anita could do better playing in midfield. I can’t give him an F since he was playing out of position. Now the question shifts to how will play in Bielsa’s system. He’s been reportedly on the lookout for a new club, so the question may not even need to be asked at all. However, I think Bielsa could still get something out of Anita; it’d be interesting to see how he plays as an attacking wingback or how he’d operate in midfield.