Despite injury woes and lack of form, Leeds United have scripted a resurgence following last month’s international break with four successive wins. They are now placed second in the Championship standings and are eyeing a long-awaited Premier League return under Marcelo Bielsa’s tutelage. The Whites are five points clear of Sheffield United and Derby County who are also chasing promotion but should look to retain the momentum amidst a busy schedule in December.
Bielsa, meanwhile, might lose a couple of key first-team names in the near future who have reportedly kept their options open after failed contract talks, according to this exclusive penned by Pete O’Rourke for Football Insider.
The report reveals that the Whites were negotiating new terms with a string of first-team players. However, talks have been shelved for Kemar Roofe and Kalvin Phillips – two of their regulars who are integral in El Loco’s Leeds revolution. The news should alert other English outfits, including Premier League clubs, who are aware of the duo’s potential to shine in the top tier.
Roofe has netted 10 goals in 15 league games and adjusted well as their new ‘number 9’. Phillips, the homegrown prodigy, has been deployed in the ‘hole’ in between Leeds’ backline and ‘midfield four’ and also as a makeshift centre-back in the absence of Luke Ayling, Gaetano Berardi and Liam Cooper. While Roofe has 18 months left in his current deal to run out, the latter is tied down until the summer of 2021 which allows the Whites to have some breathing space when it comes to the 23-year-old Englishman’s contract.
There have been speculations over Roofe’s future having been linked with (Plymouth Herald) Premier League outfits Wolves, Crystal Palace and Southampton. Stalling on a new deal has to be a worrying sign for the Elland Road outfit. However, Leeds must not let Roofe leave in summer at any cost. The in-form Englishman is a perfect fit in Bielsa’s set-up as he is not only scoring goals but also linking up well upfront with his teammates operating down the wings as well as through the middle of the park.
Although they have Patrick Bamford as an alternative in place of Roofe, the former Chelsea starlet is yet to showcase his best form for his new club after being sidelined for months with a knee ligament injury.
He has the potential to shine in the long run but would require at least a season or two before exhibiting his quality high up the pitch. January won’t be the ideal time to welcome offers for either of the two players mentioned as that is the time Leeds United should try and push on for an automatic promotion spot.
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