Former Watford centre-back Joel Ekstrand is apparently nearing a switch to Championship side Leeds United.
A mixed time at Vicarage Road
The 27-year old left Vicarage Road in the summer after spending 4 years with the Premier League club after joining from Udinese. The deal was initially a one-year loan deal but was made permanent as Ekstrand impressed in the championship that season.
The big Swede made a total of 101 appearances for the Hornets but has not featured in the first team since March 2015. This is due to a cruciate knee ligament injury that he suffered against Ipswich Town at Portmand Road just before the club’s promotion.
Championship sides circling
Ekstrand has reportedly held discussions with a number of Championship sides over the past week or so. Bristol City are definitely one of the interested parties but the player is said to prefer a move to Elland Road.
The former Swansea City Head Coach Garry Monk has recently been appointed to take over the reins at the famous Yorkshire club
Monk may be tempted
Monk will want to bolster his squad ahead of the long hard slog that is the Sky Bet Championship. The fact that Ekstrand is a free agent will make him an attractive proposition for Monk given his experience of a championship promotion campaign. Also the lack of transfer fee will save crucial funds within a relatively tight budget.
A varied career
Before making his bow in English football Ekstrand began his career at local side Lunds BK before moving to Helsinborgs who are traditionally one of the bigger sides in Sweden.
He had established himself as a regular before he moved to Udinese. Incidently the Italian side are owned by the Pozzo family who acquired control at Vicarage Road in the summer of 2012, making Ekstrand one of their first Watford Signings from their sister club.