Leeds United have been handed a boost in their bid to bring Haydon Roberts to Elland Road in the summer transfer window.
In recent comments made to Sussex Live, Brighton & Hove Albion manager Graham Potter revealed that the centre-back will likely be leaving the American Express Community Stadium ahead of the 2022/23 campaign – as the 19-year-old is in need of regular first-team football in order to continue his development in the professional game.
And, while Potter is likely referring to a season loan deal for the defender, the 46-year-old’s remarks will certainly have caught the attention of Victor Orta, who is reported to have a long-standing interest in the England U19 international – even seeing an offer for Roberts rejected in the summer of 2020.
Considering the sheer amount of potential Roberts quite clearly possesses, should an opportunity arise to land the centre-back this summer, it is one Orta simply must do everything he can to take.
Indeed, Potter himself has previously revealed his excitement regarding the 19-year-old’s ability, stating back in September of last year: “He’s a really exciting player. He is obviously young and he has got a lot to learn but he has got some really interesting attributes.
“Very strong, very quick, very mobile. Powerful. Good with the ball, brings it out well. He’s got good courage so he’s got a lot of things that are really exciting, that fit how we want to try and do things.”
Furthermore, back in 2020, The Athletic spoke to a number of scouts about Roberts’ future in the game, with one even drawing comparisons between the Brighton starlet and the former Leeds loanee, Ben White:
“I like him. I think he’s a good defender. [The only question is] about his size to play there, but then again look at Ben White. You probably wouldn’t think he is so good in the air but he’s been outstanding for Leeds this season.
“One plus point with Haydon is he is left-footed. To have a left-footed centre-half is so much better. It offers variety. He’s got quality on the ball. He has played in midfield as well a few times.
“It’s good for young centre-backs to go in there, put themselves under a bit more pressure playing in other areas. I’ve seen him play left-back a couple of times for England. Whether he wants to play there is a question mark.”
As such, while it is true that Jesse Marsch is not exactly short of options in the heart of his Leeds defence – with the likes of Diego Llorente, Robin Koch, Pascal Struijk, Liam Cooper and Charlie Cresswell in his first-team squad – the signing of Roberts would nevertheless appear to be an astute one for Orta to make this summer.
Indeed, with the right-footed Cresswell coming on leaps and bounds this season, forming a partnership between the 19-year-old and the £4.2k-per-week Roberts – who Andy Naylor dubbed a “talent” – could well prove to become the base on which the Leeds side is built for many a year to come.