Leeds may well have dodged a bullet by not giving in to the demands of Norwich City during their pursuit of signing Todd Cantwell over the summer. The Whites had eyed up the rising star as a top priority target to bolster their squad, but their £15million offer was not be enough to sway the Canaries.
Instead, Norwich decided that they wouldn’t shift on wanting £20million for the midfielder’s services, which forced Leeds to drop their interest. Now, according to Football Insider, this is something that they regret as they wish they’d have cashed in during the summer window.
However, for Leeds, this will be viewed as a Get out of Jail Free occasion. Cantwell has declined since the Canaries relegation last season and has been struggling with injury too.
Despite being a hot transfer target eyeballed by the likes of Liverpool, the 22-year-old has hit a dip in his form. He has gone from being lauded as a “god-given” talent by his former youth Gary Cockaday, to struggling against the likes of Championship relegation candidates Wycombe.
Cantwell has made just five appearances under Daniel Farke this season, missing five matches through two separate injuries and he was left on the bench against Bristol City in his last-named feature (via Transfermarkt).
If the midfielder is becoming injury-prone, this will see him slip dramatically down the pecking order at Carrow Road. Particularly if he is struggling to make an impact in front of goal, he risks being left on the bench more and more as Norwich push to return to the Premier League.
Indeed, it could have been a similar scenario at Leeds. Marcelo Bielsa has already made some cut-throat decisions to his team this campaign, with Premier League survival in mind. Jamie Shackleton was recently axed from the squad after disappointing against Leicester and Pablo Hernandez also risks being permanently dropped, if not sold, for his recent actions.
Bielsa needs doers and Cantwell is not currently showing signs of being a player the Argentinian would want in his squad. Another of the midfielder’s youth coaches, Darren Huckerby, admitted that Cantwell would often get “intimidated” by other players on the pitch. Whilst this is a trait he may have grown out of, a manager like Bielsa cannot take the risk of signing a player who is afraid to give every game his all.
Whilst at the time, it seemed like the Whites missed out on a huge signing, Victor Orta made the right decision by not bowing to Norwich’s demands and splashing £20million on a player who, based on his recent performances, may not have impressed Bielsa.