Club legend Ian Harte knows a thing or two about what it’s like to defend at Elland Road. Albeit a more offensive-minded left-back, he spent the biggest chunk of his career – racking up 288 appearances across nine seasons – playing as part of the Leeds defence.
It may have ended disappointingly, missing out on the playoffs and reluctantly parting with manager Garry Monk, but the 2016/17 campaign has been a largely positive one for Leeds – enjoying their strongest season for some time.
Whites fans are now looking upwards to the Premier League rather than nervously over their shoulders at the prospect of a return to League One and centre-back duo Kyle Bartley and Pontus Jansson have played a huge part in that, Leeds finishing the regular season in seventh place and with the fourth-best defensive record in the division.
The problem, however, is that Bartley’s not officially a Leeds player, joining on loan from Swansea City at the start of the season. Likewise, although Leeds signed Jansson permanently in February, his impressive performances saw him linked with a move to the Premier League in April.
Ian Harte, speaking exclusively to 888sport, has revealed it’s not only vital Leeds hang onto top scorer Chris Wood this summer but the centre-back pairing as well, suggesting he’s more than in favour of a transfer deal that would keep Bartley at Elland Road permanently.
When asked about the importance of keeping Chris Wood, he replied; “Of course because of all the goals that he has scored but it’s also important that they keep hold of their centre-halves because they’ve been so solid. They need to strengthen in certain positions and bring in better players who will be capable of handling the Premier League. I’m sure that’s what they’ll be addressing over the summer.”
Read the full 888sport interview with Ian Harte, including his thoughts on why John Terry would be a great signing for Bournemouth