Leeds United

Leeds United

Premier League • England

Bielsa forced to look elsewhere as ‘valued’ Championship ace staying put

John Swift Reading 2021 TEAMtalk1

Reported Leeds United target John Swift will not be leaving Reading in the January transfer window, according to a source.

The Whites may be in the market for reinforcements this winter after struggling to replicate last season’s form. On their first campaign in the top flight for 16 years the Elland Road outfit managed to finish a creditable ninth. But they have won just three of their first 17 top-flight games in 2021-2022 and sit 16th in the table.

The West Yorkshire side are only five points above the drop zone and pressure is mounting on the manager. Goals have been hard to come by, with Patrick Bamford missing many games due to injury.

The Argentine tactician has a number of injuries to contend with and may be forced into action next month. He is a known admirer of Swift, revealing his thoughts on the former England Under-21 star back in February 2020.

“Swift is a great player,” he said. “I value him a lot. He is a player who appears suddenly in attack and the same in transition between defence and attack, but especially when he passes from the defence to the attack.”

It seems as though that admiration has not diminished. And last month, his agent admitted that a move to Elland Road would “be good for John moving forward in his career.”

However, it appears as though any plans may be put on hold until the summer. The Reading Chronicle are reporting that the former Chelsea player has no intention of quitting the Royals mid season.

He is reportedly eager to stay and help the Berkshire outfit drag themselves away for the wrong end of the Championship table. They currently occupy 21st spot and are just two points from safety.

Manchester United scouting Leeds' Illan Mesiler

Manchester United sent scouts to watch Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier who’s viewed as a potential long term replacement for David de Gea.

Swift stance a double-edged sword

Swift will be out of contract at the end of the campaign. Therefore the January window represents the last time that the Select Car Leasing Stadium outfit could receive a fee for him.

He is a valued member of the side, with eight goals and nine assists to his name in 2021-2022. But while his loyalty is creditable, it is open to debate as to whether the club will want to lose him for nothing.

Leeds are not the only Premier League club to have registered an interest. Wolves and Crystal Palace have also been mentioned in connection with the Portsmouth-born forward.

Marcelo Bielsa raising his hand during a Leeds game

And fellow second-tier outfit Sheffield United are thought to be suitors. It seems inevitable that this will be his final season at Reading, with the Premier League possibly his next destination.

READ MORE: Victor Orta ‘rips up’ original Bielsa transfer plan as Leeds crisis springs more expensive idea