Leeds are set to terminate Vernon Anita’s contract once the former Netherlands international returns to Thorp Arch later this week, according to SDNA.
Anita spent the recent campaign on loan in the Dutch Eredivisie with Willem II, where he made 27 appearances under Adrie Koster, including 14 outings as part of the Tilburgia’s starting XI. The Whites board did not include an option-to-buy in his loan agreement, however, which has forced the former Newcastle United midfielder to return to West Yorkshire for pre-season training.
Marcelo Bielsa did not give the 30-year-old a chance to prove himself following his arrival at United, which caused instant friction between the boss and the 3-cap ace, who told reporters: “You do not want to stay with a club where the trainer does not see it [your ability].”
A reunion is now beyond unlikely, with Greek publication SDNA noting that the 5 ft 4 defensive midfielder is in the spotlight of Panathinaikos ahead of a potential free move to the Super League side, who last lifted the top-flight trophy in 2010.
Before securing his sought-after move to the Athens Olympic Stadium, though, Anita is due to hold talks with Whites chiefs over terminating his contract a year early, as the undisclosed compensation package it would return would allow the Ajax product to lower his wage demands in any negotiations with the financially handicapped Shamrock.
Panathinaikos Sporting Director Nikos Dabizas is said to see everything he is looking for in Anita, with his dynamism and aggression in the middle of the field currently missing from Giorgos Donis’s quad.
While allowing Anita to call-short his United contract a year early would prevent Leeds from chasing a transfer fee for someone we signed as a free agent in 2017, his absence from the squad will not be felt next term.
The Willemstad-born midfielder made 14 starts in the Championship during his only full season in West Yorkshire, with a further four starting call-ups in that season’s FA Cup and EFL Cup. He would, however, only complete 60% of his attempted tackles in the second-tier.