Leeds United are understood to be “having a late go” at signing right-back Connor Roberts from Premier League side Burnley, with strengthening in this position being described as “the absolute priority” ahead of tonight’s transfer deadline.
Leeds’ January transfer window has reached its dying stages without seeing any incomings so far, despite losing several players – most notably defenders Djed Spence, Luke Ayling and Leo Hjelde – throughout the month.
This has led to a growing sense of frustration amongst the Whites fanbase that the squad at manager Daniel Farke’s disposal is now objectively weaker than the one which he had at the start of January, a viewpoint which is hard to argue against.
The full-back positions on the pitch, in particular, have come under scrutiny – with Leeds currently having to rely on the young, yet talented, Archie Gray as the club’s only right-back. The left-back berth doesn’t fare much better, with both players in that position – Junior Firpo and Sam Byram – both being prone to injury.
Leeds making late approach for Burnley’s Roberts
Farke was insistent in yesterday’s Bristol City pre-match press conference that he wouldn’t make signings that weren’t the “perfect fit” for the club, and made no guarantees to supporters that any players would be brought in before tonight’s transfer deadline.
And whilst there is still understood to be work to be done to secure a move for Roberts, negotiations seem to at least be progressing somewhat, with “fresh talks” between Leeds and Burnley reported to be currently underway.
That is according to The Athletic’s Phil Hay, who claims that the Whites’ focus is wholly on the “priority” right-back position, and that they are making a move for Roberts just before the deadline.
Leeds United having a late go at Burnley’s Conor Roberts. Been of interest all month, fresh talks about signing him taking place. Right-back the absolute priority ahead of the deadline.@TheAthleticFC https://t.co/5omG0MGFAl
— Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) February 1, 2024
It is unknown whether Roberts would join the West Yorkshire outfit on a permanent deal or as a loanee, but the latter is more likely given that this is the market that Leeds have generally been shopping in this January.
A sensible signing, if it happens
In many ways, a move for Roberts would benefit both parties. The Welsh international currently finds himself out of Vincent Kompany’s starting XI at Burnley having made few Premier League appearances for the Clarets so far this term.
In signing Roberts, Leeds would be gaining an experienced Championship full-back who was pivotal to the Burnley side that was promoted as Champions last season. A sensible acquisition on all accounts, and a player who most likely wouldn’t mind finding himself behind Gray in the right-back pecking order.
Yet, as is the case with all transfers, there is still time for twists in this particular tale. Whilst Leeds may have left it late in the day to get the transfer over the line, Roberts would be a good addition to Farke’s defensive ranks if the move goes ahead.