Monday, March 27, 2023

Leeds United Man Attracting Interest From Derby County: Should Bielsa Let Him Leave?

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

According to The Times (subscription required), as cited by Bristol Live, Tyler Roberts has emerged as the latest target for Derby County. The Leeds United attacker has been identified as an ideal candidate as Phillip Cocu looks to bolster his offensive unit this summer. The Rams are confident of their pursuit of Roberts, knowing that he may not have a future at Elland Road in the upcoming campaign.

How Did Tyler Roberts Fare Last Season?

Roberts has been a part of Leeds since 2018 when he joined from West Brom and following a slow start to his career, he was widely expected to break into Marcelo Bielsa’s team before the start of last season.

Unfortunately, the Welshman has failed to do so, often struggling to compete with the likes of Patrick Bamford, Jack Harrison and Pablo Hernandez. As a result, he was barely involved in the first-team during the opening half of the 2019/20 campaign.

It was only until Hernandez suffered fitness issues, shortly after Project Restart, when Roberts managed to get some regular game-time under his belt. He started ahead of the Spaniard in the number ten role and made an early impression as well.

It ultimately convinced Bielsa to use him in every game since the restart, with the attacker ending the campaign with 24 league appearances, scoring four goals and providing one assist.

Tyler Roberts has emerged as the latest target for Derby County - Does he have any future?
CARDIFF, WALES – OCTOBER 13: Tyler Roberts of Wales acknowledges the crowd after the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier between Wales and Croatia at Cardiff City Stadium on October 13, 2019, in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

Does Roberts Have Any Future at Leeds?

One of the main issues Roberts currently has at Leeds United is that he is yet to win the complete trust of Bielsa. Even when the Argentine did choose to utilise his qualities in the starting eleven frequently, he was primarily used as a first-half player, before eventually making way for Hernandez.

Despite all his fitness troubles, it was the ageing Spaniard who was arguably Leeds’ best player since the restart. Roberts, on the other hand, was mostly considered as an alternative for Bamford or Hernandez.

Hence, it is reasonable to believe that the Welshman could have more problems settling into Leeds United in the Premier League, with the Whites having already signed Rodrigo Moreno. They are also expected to sign at least one more attacker in the ongoing transfer window.

That is, however, not to say that Roberts has no future at Elland Road at all. In fact, he is a part of  Bielsa’s plan to add more depth in the attacking department so that the club can prepare itself for the rigours of top-flight football.

Losing the 21-year-old, in that regard, could force Leeds United to sign not only one but perhaps two new attackers, which could be problematic for the club.

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