Leeds United: Five things to know about Birkir Bjarnason - the Thor of football
Leeds United are closely monitoring the contract situation of Pescara midfielder Birkir Bjarnason who could be set for a reunion with Uwe Rosler.
The Italian outfit have allowed Bjarnason’s deal to run down and the 27-year-old will be available on a free transfer if he opts to move on. He has scored 12 times from midfield for Pescara this season helping them reach the Serie B play-off final.
Here’s five things you need to know about Birkir Bjarnason:
1: United head coach Uwe Rosler knows the attacking midfielder very well having worked together at Norwegian outfit Viking between 2006 and 2009. Bjarnason, nicknamed the Thor of football, scored his first goal for Viking against Hamarkameratene (HamKam) and went on to be a key player helping them avoid relegation and then steer them to a third-placed finish in 2007. The 27-year-old made 100 appearances for Viking scoring 16 goals.
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2: Bjarnason made his debut for the senior Iceland national side in 2010 and has gone on to become an experienced midfielder with almost 40 caps to his name. He scored his first goal for his country in a 3-2 defeat against France in 2012 and went on to play a crucial role in the World Cup qualifiers helping guide Iceland to the play-off stage. However his efforts were in vain as Croatia won 2-0 on aggregate over two legs to progress to Brazil.
3: Bjarnason has had two spells at current club Pescara having initially joined on a season-long loan deal from Standard Liege in July 2012. The attacking midfielder made 24 appearances and scored two goals. Having spent the year after at Sampdoria, it was announced that the 27-year-old would sign again for Pescara after the club won the co-ownership bidding for the player. Upon signing he was immediately appointed captain for the 2014/15 season.
4: Bjarnason is the second top goalscorer for Iceland in the qualifying round for the 2016 European Championship in France. The midfielder has hit the back of the net twice in five games to help his country reach second place in Group A, only Gylfi Sigurdsson has scored more. They are five points ahead of the Netherlands in third place and only one point behind table toppers Czech Republic who they face at home on June 12.
5: Pescara are on the verge of reaching the Italian top flight having reached the Serie B play-off final. They face Bologna in the first leg of their Serie B play-off final tonight, with the return leg scheduled for Tuesday evening. Bjarnason played a crucial part in the club’s play-off semi-final win over Vicenza, as he scored the match-winning goal. Discussions about Bjarnason’s future are expected to intensify once the promotion fight is settled. His agent, Jim Solbakken, was asked by the YEP if he was aware of interest from Elland Road. Solbakken said: “On that I cannot comment.”