By Craig Scott

26th Jul, 2019 | 11:49am

Bent: Roofe's head could be turned by PL speculation

Marcelo Bielsa has overseen departures for a lot of players since being Leeds United manager and while most of them can be justified, one player that he cannot afford to lose is Kemar Roofe.

The 26-year-old forward is in the final year of his contract at Elland Road and according to reliable news outlet Football Insider, Premier League side Burnley have shown an interest in snapping him up before the start of next season.

Leeds could lose Roofe on a free transfer next year if they are not careful and recent claims by ex-England international Darren Bent suggest that the attacker could be hard to strike a new deal with due to the speculation surrounding his future in Yorkshire.

“Last season he was brilliant, absolutely brilliant for Leeds, but before that he played wide, he never really had a set role down the middle,” Bent told Football Insider.

“It was only last season where I thought ‘Wow, Leeds have got a proper centre forward here.’ He’s down to his last year, you’d think Leeds would offer him a contract now but the difficulty is when you’re in the Championship and scoring goals regularly, you’re being linked to Premier League clubs, your head can’t help but be turned.

“Leeds are a big football club and he’s a fan favourite there. If Leeds get off to a bad start next season he’s thinking: ‘I need to get into the Premier League.’ He probably wants to go there now.”

Roofe is someone who Bielsa needs to try and keep hold of.

The former West Brom player made 34 appearances across all competitions for Leeds last season, scoring 15 goals and supplying two assists in the process.

He was Leeds’ top goalscorer as they finished third in the Championship standings and had their best stab at promotion back to the Premier League since suffering defeat to Watford in the play-off final in 2006.

Based on stats by WhoScored, Roofe has a much better contribution to the Leeds attack than Patrick Bamford.

Roofe not only was rated higher than WhoScored for his displays in the Championship, but he also averaged more dribbles, more fouls won and as many shots at goal per game than Bamford.

The Walsall-born ace was also dispossessed fewer times and averaged fewer poor touches than the ex-Chelsea striker.

Leeds might not get the chance to cash in on Roofe next year if he does not sign a new contract, but they might not be able to get a striker more influential for them than he was last season.

If the Whites keep Roofe, win promotion and then lose him for free next year, that is still a good scenario for Leeds.

However if they do keep him, miss out on promotion and lose him for free at the end of his contract, they have missed out on potentially a lot of money.

Bielsa should be worried by Bent’s claim about Roofe, if he’s had his head turned by the reported interest from Burnley.

If that is the case and Leeds deny the forward the chance to play in the Premier League in the upcoming season then there’s no guarantee that he will be able to replicate his fine form from last term and cashing in on him now might be the least worst option.