Pontus Jansson claimed his first Leeds United goal in a spectacular win over Norwich City and immediately called on the club to finalise a deal to make his loan from Torino permanent.
The centre-back enhanced his cult-hero status with United’s first goal and another ruthless display before dismissing suggestions that his eye-catching form might threaten Leeds’ chances of signing him long-term.
Jansson is 11 games into a season-long loan at Elland Road and Leeds have an option to buy him from Torino for a fee in excess of £3m once Jansson completes his 20th appearance.
The clamour to sign the popular Sweden international, however, is growing rapidly on the back of a series of performances which have contributed to Leeds’ rise up the Championship table.
A dramatic but convincing 3-2 win at Carrow Road on Saturday – sealed by an injury-time rocket from teenage midfielder Ronaldo Vieira – moved United up to sixth place and into the division’s play-off zone for the first time since Boxing Day in 2013.
Jansson has been an influential presence in the centre of defence and his 57th-minute header against Norwich, bringing the score back to 1-1, helped to turn an eventful clash Leeds’ way.
The 25-year-old, who moved to Italy from Malmo in 2014, appears to have no future in Turin and Torino are willing to finalise a permanent move to England but Jansson’s growing reputation has raised the threat of other clubs competing for his signature.
Watford, owned by the Italian Pozzo family, are among those being credited with an interest in him.
But Jansson spelled out his wish for a long contract at Elland Road, saying: “Seriously, that’s the only thing that I want now. I want to be here and to make a permanent deal with Leeds.
“I’m still waiting for that so it’s up to the president (Leeds owner Massimo Cellino) to do it now. I’m really happy and I’m here to take Leeds to the Premier League or the play-offs. If other clubs are coming to watch me then of course I am happy for that but my focus is on Leeds.”
Jansson is one of several loanees, including Hadi Sacko, Kyle Bartley and Pablo Hernandez, who have become regulars under head coach Garry Monk and United have serious impetus behind them going into the international break after eight wins from 12 games in all competitions – among them last month’s League Cup victory over Norwich.
A beleaguered and out-of-form City team, who still sit a place above Leeds in fifth, took a first-half lead through Robbie Brady on Saturday but replies from Jansson and Chris Wood – the latter’s 11th goal of the term – appeared to have earned United three points until Kyle Lafferty equalised at the end of normal time. Vieira, however, came up with an opportunistic 30-yard finish moments later to finally settle the contest.
Jansson was shown a yellow card after jumping into the away end to celebrate his goal, leaving him one booking away from an automatic one-game ban, but he said: “That was a special moment, especially as it was an important goal as well. For me it feels like this was the best performance we’ve had as a team since I came to the club.
“We played really good, we created a lot of chances and didn’t let them create so many chances. We played really good football – the football we were taught to believe in.”
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