Leeds United: Bartley open to prospect of extending United stay

Kyle Bartley
Kyle Bartley
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KYLE BARTLEY has handed Leeds United a pre-derby day boost by admitting he would definitely be interested in a permanent switch to the Whites.

KYLE BARTLEY has handed Leeds United a pre-derby day boost by admitting he would definitely be interested in a permanent switch to the Whites.

Bartley has excelled at centre-back since arriving on a season-long loan from Swansea City in the summer and the defender is now counting down the hours to Saturday’s Championship showdown with Sheffield Wednesday at Elland Road.

The 25-year-old’s displays have helped Leeds into the division’s play-off places with United sat fifth ahead of their weekend clash with the Owls who are sixth and level on points with the Whites.

And Bartley has admitted the prospect of a permanent move to Leeds is definitely something that would appeal once his season-long loan from Swansea City expires in the summer.

The 25-year-old is contracted at Swansea until June 2018 but the Swans’ long-term situation is unclear with the Welsh club only four points above the Premier Division dropzone, though heading in the right direction under new boss Paul Clement.

Bartley made only eight appearances at Swansea last season and ten in 2014-15.

Asked if Leeds was a club he could have a long-term future at, Bartley admitted: “It’s difficult to say at this point.

“I’m obviously contracted to Swansea and I have a lot of respect for the club and the chairman so I’m not in a

position to say at the moment.

“But come the end of the season, in the summer, then hopefully we should know more and we’ll see what happens.”

Asked if he would welcome the possibility of a permanent switch to Leeds, the defender beamed: “I have had a fantastic season.

“Leeds has been great for me, the fans have really got behind me and I love all the players and the staff – they have been fantastic.

“So if that opportunity does come and Swansea are willing to let me leave then that would definitely be something I would be interested in.”

Bartley and regular centre-back partner Pontus Jansson have helped transform United’s defence this season with Jansson having arrived on a season-long loan from Torino in the summer.

The Swedish international centre-back signed a deal earlier this month that will make him a permanent Whites player this summer under a contract that lasts until the summer of 2020.

The duo are now preparing for battle with United’s Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday in a game which could be key to both side’s play-off prospects.

Leeds and Wednesday are level on 58 points and both teams have a six-point cushion back to seventh-placed Fulham but the Cottagers have a game in hand.

United are around 6-4 favourites to beat Wednesday who have splashed the cash in a bid to gain promotion to the Premier, with the Owls landing Jordan Rhodes from Middlesbrough in the January transfer window.

But Bartley believes the Sheffield side’s activity in the transfer market puts the pressure on the Owls ahead of Saturday’s clash at Elland Road.

Bartley reasoned: “I think their expectations are a lot higher than us, especially with the money that they have spent in the summer and obviously in January.

“They will have a lot more pressure on their shoulders and hopefully we can go out and just try and express ourselves.”

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