Leeds might live to regret selling Kemar Roofe in the summer

Some damning statistics have been doing the rounds at Leeds this season.

Jack Harrison has had a torrid spell in terms of creativity, mustering one accurate cross from a possible 31 heading into last weekend’s meeting with Charlton.

After that clash, the Whites had conjured up 73 shots in their last four matches, taking maximum points from just one of them and scoring three goals.

For all the worries over their defence in pre-season, it now seems to be the attack that is causing the most distress, even if a 1-0 win over West Brom did slightly raise the spirits.

Calls have been made for Eddie Nketiah and Helder Costa to start but not even they could dig Marcelo Bielsa’s men out of a hole last weekend.

Costa did indeed play from the off but he was rather anonymous and lost possession of the ball 17 times. Nketiah, on the other hand, missed a golden opportunity at the near post after being introduced from the bench.

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It might be too early to suggest it could play a significant role in promotion, but this is a team that scored the second-fewest goals of anyone in the top six last season – it’s not just something that’s been a problem recently.

That fact may have been different had Kemar Roofe and Patrick Bamford stayed fit for an entire campaign, but in 2019/20 we’re seeing that the latter might not have influenced things anyway.

He missed a total of 22 games through injury last term and netted nine times in 16 starts.

It wasn’t a bad return from the ex-Middlesbrough man but this season he’s only shown glimpses of what he’s capable of.

Bamford started off productively and had four goals in his opening five outings but in his next fives matches he failed to hit the back of the net.

It’s something that’s caused unrest amongst the supporters as they grow disillusioned with the fact he’s playing upfront.

There are also a lack of goals from other areas, though.

Pablo Hernandez has scored twice so far but Mateusz Klich has just one in the league. The pair both reached double figures in 2018/19, and while there is still time for them to reach that figure, they’ll need to hit form quickly.

However, as Leeds bemoan their woes in front of goal, should we really be surprised? Given the way they play the ball around yes, but this is a side who sold their top goal scorer in the summer.

Kemar Roofe was linked with Aston Villa but it was a different shade of purple that he chose, moving across the Channel to Anderlecht in Belgium.

It was an interesting move and so far it’s proving to be one they might regret sanctioning.

It’s important to note that a host of departures were out of Andrea Radrizzani and Victor Orta’s hands this summer. Profit and sustainability issues have been well documented by Paul Bell and Angus Kinnear – the very fact they sold Pontus Jansson was predominantly down to this.

In a sense, Leeds were forced into selling some of their main assets during the transfer window. If you consider Bamford only arrived last summer and Roofe was heading into the final year of his deal, looking for a suitor elsewhere seemed right.

Nketiah may still come good and he could be the solution for the rest of the season after already scoring four times, but he is still vastly inexperienced in the Championship. Their former striker was just finding his feet.

He found the back of the net 15 times in 28 starts and five substitute appearances last season. If he’d been fit and firing for an entire season, their Premier League dream might have already become a reality.

Even if selling Roofe was somewhat of a forced decision, Leeds were quite happy to turn away offers for other players.

Understandably, Kalvin Phillips attracted interest but he went on to sign a new deal while offers were also turned down for Pablo Hernandez. Kinnear again is someone that’s documented that. He told the BBC earlier this year:

“Not going up means your players are sought after by other clubs, we had Kalvin and that was very publicised. There were a number of other players that we received offers for from both the Premier League and the Championship.”

So with that in mind, could more have been done to keep Roofe? It was reported in May that he wanted to be on the same wages as Bamford – £40k a week. That’s completely reasonable judging by their goals but it wasn’t deemed appropriate.

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The 26-year-old is the same age as his former strike partner and was more clinical last term than Bamford has been this.

Roofe only needed 3.1 shots per game but Leeds’ current number 9 is having 3.8 on average in 2019/20 without much success.

His lack of a clinical nature could really hold Leeds back in their quest to reach the promised land.

The Whites will surely be left wondering how they were able to get themselves in that sort of situation.

After all, he was their top goal scorer and they let him leave with relative ease.

As the season goes on, they might well regret not doing more to hold onto him.

Who should start up top?

Bamford

Bamford

Nketiah

Nketiah
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