Garry Monk is set to place centre-half Kyle Bartley at the top of his summer transfer list if he is to stay on as manager at Leeds United.
There have been recent reports that Monk was set to be offered a long-term deal to remain with the club after entering negotiations with co-owner Andrea Radrizanni.
And if Monk were to stay at Elland Road, it’s reported he sees the signing of loan star Bartley as his first priority of the summer.
Speaking to Yorkshire Evening Post about the 25-year Swansea loanee, Monk said: “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.
“He’s come on leaps and bounds, on and off the pitch,” Monk added.
“There’s been improvement from everyone here and that’s a big stepping stone. It was important the club had that.”
Bartley has been linked with both Burnley and Stoke, the former of whom could see the defender as a replacement for reported Liverpool and Manchester United target Michael Keane.
But Monk will hope his strong relationship with Bartley pays dividends.
Both Bartley and Monk played together at Swansea for two years before Monk would go on to coach the defender when he was appointed as coach back in 2014.
After being appointed as coach at Leeds last July, Monk signed Bartley on a season-long loan from the Welsh team.
The former Arsenal man went on to make 50 appearances for the West Yorkshire club as Monk’s side finished seventh in the Championship.