When Leeds United sold Pontus Jansson for a figure in the region of £5.5m to then-Championship rivals Brentford back in the summer of 2019, many at Elland Road must have been wondering why the Whites had sanctioned such a deal.
Indeed, the centre-back had consistently been one of the club’s best performers following his move from Torino in 2016, averaging seasonal SofaScore match ratings of 7.44 in 2016/17, 7.09 in 2017/18 and 7.16 in 2018/19 – ranking him as Leeds’ best, best and third-best performer in each respective Championship campaign.
This was a trend that continued following the Sweden international’s departure, with Jansson playing a key role in Brentford’s run to the play-off final in 2019/20 – in which the Bees narrowly missed out on promotion after a 2-1 AET defeat to Fulham – as well as starring in the club’s promotion-winning campaign the following year – this time besting Swansea in the play-off final.
And, following Brentford’s promotion to the Premier League, the £6.3m-rated defender quickly proved that has the ability to thrive in the top flight, scoring three goals and helping his side keep seven clean sheets over 37 appearances in 2021/22, as well as making an average of 1.4 interceptions, 1.1 tackles, 5.0 clearances and winning 4.1 duels – at a success rate of 58% – per game.
These returns saw the player who Frank dubbed both “immense” and a “threat” average an extremely impressive SofaScore match rating of 6.86, ranking him as Brentford’s 10th-best performer as the club secured an incredibly respectable 13th place finish in their first ever Premier League campaign.
As such, while the £31k-per-week talent himself claimed back in 2019 that Leeds sold him in order to help balance their books – despite other reports claiming that the reason for his sale was that Marcelo Bielsa simply did not get on with the Swede – considering just how much success the Brentford captain has enjoyed since his departure, Victor Orta and Andrea Radrizzani must rue selling the 31-year-old when they did.
Indeed, should the Whites have held onto the defender a little while longer, the club would have likely received a much bigger fee from his sale following their own promotion to the Premier League in the campaign following his sale – with Leicester City, Newcastle United and Everton having all been linked with a move for the defender in January of this year.