Why Leeds United should take a punt on Jhon Chancellor in January
Back in September, a report from Italian outlet Tuttosport (h/t Sussex Live) had mentioned Leeds United among the potential suitors for Brescia defender Jhon Chancellor. Premier League rivals Brighton and Hove Albion were also understood to be monitoring the centre-back.
It was claimed that the Italian club were prepared to cash in on their asset for €5m after suffering relegation from the Serie A. However, negotiations failed to reach a positive end as Chancellor ended up staying put at Brescia.
Jhon Chancellor made 75 appearances for Mineros de Guayana over two separate stints in his native Venezuela, either side of a two-year spell at ACD Lara. He also spent time on loan at Deportivo La Guaira in his homeland before completing a move to Ecuadorian top-flight outfit Delfin, where he made 38 appearances in his only season.
The centre-back moved to Europe with Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala in January 2018 but struggled to establish himself as a regular fixture, featuring only 17 times over one-and-a-half seasons. Chancellor rebuilt his reputation following a move to Qatari club Al-Ahli and returned to Europe with newly-promoted Italian club Brescia in 2019.
Chancellor enjoyed an impressive breakthrough season in the Serie A last term, scoring thrice in 26 appearances, but wasn’t able to prevent his club from getting relegated. The towering defender has continued to be a regular starter at the back for Brescia in Serie B this season. A full international for Venezuela since 2017, Chancellor has earned 20 caps for his nation so far.
Chancellor would add more depth to Leeds’ backline
Leeds United have often found themselves short of specialist cover at centre-back, despite splashing the cash on two international calibre defenders – Robin Koch and Diego Llorente – as a part of their summer recruitment drive. Marcelo Bielsa has found it difficult to rotate his options at the heart of the defence, with Llorente yet to recover from a pre-sustained groin problem and skipper Liam Cooper also picking up a few knocks.
As a result, the Argentine has been forced to call upon unproven starlet Pascal Struijk and Luke Ayling, predominantly a right-back by trade, to fill in at centre-back whenever Cooper has been sidelined.
Leeds have some bright up and coming youngsters in the form of Oliver Casey and Leif Davis but neither has the substantial senior experience to provide cover for Koch and Cooper.
Leeds ideally need another centre-back in their ranks to ensure the right kind of balance. A potential deal for Jhon Chancellor in January would definitely go a long way towards solving a nagging issue for Bielsa.
The Venezuelan doesn’t have a lot of experience in Europe but he did prove himself as a competent defender during Brescia’s 2019-20 campaign that eventually ended in relegation from the Serie A. That, coupled with his powerful 6ft 6in frame as a centre-back means that Leeds shouldn’t hesitate to play a low-cost gamble on the 28-year-old.
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Jhon Chancellor might not be the most high-profile option for Leeds in the winter market but he’s the sort of defender who could well offer the Whites good value for money. Brescia had been willing to sell him for €5m in the summer, thus potentially making the Venezuelan a cost-effective addition to Leeds’ backline.
He still has several years remaining in his prime and the Whites securing a deal for their summer target in January would surely represent a smart coup.