Former Leeds United player Noel Whelan, who is part of BBC West Yorkshire Sport’s commentary team for Leeds United fixtures, has been discussing the future of Whites defender Gaetano Berardi.
This comes after Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa recently indicated that the former Switzerland international is on track to rejoin the Whites’ first-team in training next month, having been out of action since July due to a cruciate ligament rupture.
What has Whelan said about Berardi’s Leeds United future?
Berardi’s contract with the Yorkshire club is set to expire this summer, with the ‘cult hero’ signing a new deal back in October after his previous contract expired in the summer after he got injured while helping the Whites to win the 2019/20 Championship title.
Speaking to Football Insider, after praising the club for handing Berardi a new deal, Whelan shared some uncertainty over how much game time the 32-year-old is likely to enjoy on his return.
The pundit acknowledged that Berardi will offer Bielsa ‘another option’ but went on to say that the Yorkshire club has ‘progressed in the area that he plays’ and recruited ‘international players’ who he believes ‘will always be above’ Berardi in the Leeds pecking order.
Transfer Tavern take
It will be interesting to see how much game time Berardi enjoys between his return and the end of the 2020/21 campaign, as even though he is the longest-serving player at Elland Road, the fact that he is 32 and coming back from a long-term injury – combined with him likely being some way down the pecking order – could work against him in terms of the club choosing to offer him another new deal.
However, Berardi is a versatile player, with the Swiss defender having made a plethora of appearances at right-back, left-back and centre-back for the Yorkshire club, so that versatility, combined with his fierce loyalty could work in his favour with regard to having a future at Elland Road, despite Whelan’s comments.
Given that he has been out of action for so long, his performances in the remainder of the 2020/21 campaign will likely play a significant role in determining how much time Berardi has got left at Leeds. If Whelan is right and Berardi is now some way down the pecking order, maybe his chances to prove what he can offer will be few and far between.
Will Berardi be at Leeds next season?
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