Kyle Bartley is being heavily linked with a move to Middlesbrough, with reports suggesting Garry Monk has already spoken to the Swansea player about a move to Teesside.
The centre-half followed Monk to Leeds on a season-long loan deal last summer and emerged as the cornerstone of the Whites’ defence as the club mounted an, ultimately unsuccessful, push for the play-offs.
Leeds are in the running to sign Bartley in a permanent deal from Swansea this summer, but the uncertainty of their future – the club are still to appoint a successor to Monk – means a move to the Riverside looks more likely at this moment in time.
Bartley spoke of his desire to join Leeds in a permanent deal back in April, but hinted at the time that the club ‘could be in trouble’ if they did not tie up a long-term deal for Monk.
“If Garry does stay, the club will be in better hands than if he doesn’t,” Bartley said after a 3-3 draw with Norwich City which ended the club’s bid for the play-offs. “He’s the cornerstone of this club at the moment and if they don’t sign him up they could be in trouble.”
Bartley has since returned to Swansea and their manager Paul Clement has spoken of his desire to welcome the player, and fellow Leeds loanee Matt Grimes, back into the fold.
“When I spoke to Matty Grimes and Kyle Bartley at Leeds, I said ‘you’re Swansea players’ and before I look anywhere else I’m going to look at what we have got from within,” Clement said.
“We want people back pre-season to train and we will go from there.”
Bartley’s form this season has also reportedly alerted Burnley and Stoke, but Monk, speaking to Yorkshire Evening Post about the 25-year loanee, said prior to his Leeds exit: “Kyle’s been tremendous this season. Obviously I’ve got experience with Kyle and I know him very well, but he’d be the first to tell you that this has been by far his best season and by far his best progression as a footballer – the best football he’s ever played.