Why Leeds United should hand Gaetano Berardi a new deal
Leeds United may not be in the Premier League just yet, but their chances of securing a return to the top-flight for the first time since 2004 are looking stronger in the last few weeks.
The Whites are on a fantastic run of five successive wins, which has seen them leapfrog West Brom into first place, while also establishing a healthy seven-point lead to the playoffs. Defender Gaetano Berardi has played a crucial role in the last few weeks for Leeds United and has helped them in wins over both Huddersfield Town and Middlesbrough.
Gaetano Berardi, 31, is out of contract at the end of the season but according to respected journalist Phil Hay of the Athletic, there have been no negotiations yet. As things stand, the one-cap Switzerland international’s future at Elland Road remains up in the air. Come what may, Leeds must quickly hand him a new deal.
The defender started his career at Swiss club Lugano’s youth team. In the summer of 2005, he was signed by Serie B side Brescia. He made 105 appearances for Brescia in six years before joining Sampdoria in 2012. He was a part of the 2011-12 Sampdoria squad that won promotion to the Serie A.
Berardi managed only 35 appearances for Sampdoria before Leeds signed him in the summer of 2014. Till date, he has made 150 appearances across all competitions for the Whites, establishing himself as a terrific squad player.
The 31-year-old is a useful player because of his versatility and experience. He can play in multiple positions – as a central defender and as a full-back. He has managed only 11 starts in the Championship this season but has proven himself whenever called upon by Marcelo Bielsa.
Kalvin Phillips’ injury has seen Bielsa shuffle his pack, with Ben White stepping into midfield and Berardi slotting into the defence. The Sorengo-born star helped Leeds to clean sheets in the wins over Middlesbrough and Huddersfield Town, propelling Bielsa’s side back to the top of the Championship table in the process. Truly, time and again, he’s proved his importance to the team.
- Why Leeds United signing Rob Dickie would be a good move
- Why Leeds United should reignite their interest in Connor Goldson
- Why Leeds United should make a move for Liverpool star James Milner
Berardi has been a valuable player for Leeds this campaign despite not being involved regularly. He is one of the club’s longest-serving players after joining the club six years ago and has gained volumes of experience in Championship football. Though he is 31, the Swiss has still got some energy left in his tank to play week in and week out.
With Marcelo Bielsa preferring to operate with such a small squad, it’s vital to have versatile players like Berardi in that. Berardi has had his struggles at Elland Road but he’s also proven his importance whenever called upon by the manager. Thus, the Whites would be wise to hand the Swiss defender a new deal.