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Done deal: Leeds sign Burnley right-back Connor Roberts

Leeds United have completed the signing of Burnley right-back Connor Roberts on loan until the end of the season.

The right-back position was one which Leeds were keen on strengthening in before the January transfer window opened, even before Djed Spence and Luke Ayling both departed the club during the course of the month.

Roberts has been a target for the Whites throughout the whole window, yet it is understood that certain dominoes had to fall – in particular Burnley’s signing of a replacement for the Welshman – before negotiations between Leeds and the Clarets could progress.

It was reported earlier today that after “fresh talks” a medical had been booked for Roberts for this afternoon and now, Leeds have got their man. The deal is understood to be a straightforward loan without an obligation to buy included, however The Athletic’s Phil Hay has suggested that there are “strong hints” that Roberts would like the move to become permanent.

“Leeds United are delighted to confirm the arrival of Connor Roberts on loan from Premier League side Burnley, until the end of the 2023/24 campaign,” a club statement read.

“Roberts moves to Elland Road with vast experience of playing in the Sky Bet Championship, having won the division and secured promotion with the Clarets last season.

“He will wear the number 33 shirt and could make his Whites debut against Rotherham United in the Sky Bet Championship at Elland Road next weekend.”

Who is Connor Roberts?

A Swansea City academy product, Roberts began his professional career with his boyhood club, signing an initial three-year deal with the Welsh side in the summer of 2016. Despite being sent out on loan several times during his time with the Swans, featuring most notably at Yeovil Town, Roberts racked up 133 appearances across all competitions for Swansea.

It was upon signing for Burnley in August 2021 where Roberts’ domestic playing career reached its current peak, however, most notably in the 2022/23 season when he played a pivotal role in seeing Vincent Kompany’s side promoted from the Championship as league champions. Notching 4 goals and having a hand in 6 assists from right-back, he found himself named in the EFL’s Championship Team of the Season come the end of the season.

Roberts has also enjoyed a significant amount of time representing his home country of Wales, making 53 appearances for The Dragons so far during his career.

Is Roberts a good fit for Leeds?

Roberts brings not only ability – but experience – to what is currently a youthful side which Daniel Farke has at his disposal, as well as allowing greater tactical flexibility regarding how the German may choose to deploy the exceptionally talented figure of Archie Gray.

As a former Championship winner the Welshman knows just what it takes to succeed in what is a very tough division, and likes to get forward and assist the attack just as much as he likes to defend.

His acquisition also allows Farke the option to play Gray back in his more natural midfield berth where needed, taking some of the pressure off of the 17-year-old in games which he may find difficult to navigate at right-back.

And, with a strong Welsh contingent already present at Leeds with Joe Rodon, Ethan Ampadu and Dan James all currently on the club’s books, Roberts’ addition can only help the synergy of the group further.

Whilst Roberts may not be a flashy signing he is definitely a sensible one, and it is through making smart signings like these that Farke will be hoping to give his side enough strength in depth to secure an immediate return to the Premier League this term.

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