Middlesbrough have confirmed the signing of Manchester City winger Patrick Roberts on loan until the end of the season – but have Leeds United missed a trick in failing to rival the Teesside club for the England youth international?
Roberts, 22, was on loan at Norwich City – the third team he has joined on loan since his £12million (Teesside Live) move from Fulham in 2015. He starred at Celtic, scoring 18 goals and creating 26 more for the Scottish champions.
A move to La Liga followed with Girona, where he was forced to feed off scraps – managing 21 outings. At Norwich, he was afforded just 23 minutes of Premier League football. A return to Manchester City occurred, before moving to Boro.
Former Leeds defender Woodgate, who has finally got Boro back on track after a dismal start in his first season as a manager, admitted he wanted to sign Roberts over the weekend: “He’s a very good player. Let’s see if we can get something done.”
Jack Clarke returned to Tottenham after failing to break into the Leeds side like he did last season. Indeed, teenager Clarke managed 25 appearances for Leeds in his first campaign – earning a move to Spurs. He was loaned back to Leeds.
But the England Under-20 international only managed three more outings, one of which came in the Championship. He needs replacing despite his game time – according to Marcelo Bielsa – and Roberts should have been at the top of Leeds’ shortlist.
Roberts is just what Leeds needed. He boasts versatility, a key trait for Bielsa, as he can play on either flank. He can score goals, create goals and could probably do a shift in the number 10 role given his vision and excellent technique.
Though Roberts is somewhat lightweight, he makes up for it in quickness of thinking and movement. His fleet-footed approach would certainly have got the Elland Road crowd excited. He would have been an excellent replacement for Clarke on loan.