When Tyler Roberts arrived at Elland Road, it was seen as a coup. An attack-minded forward who could play in numerous roles, had international experience, and had also played in the top-flight. However, since his arrival in Yorkshire, the 22-year-old has flattered to deceive in many ways. Intermittent runs of impressive form are often interspersed with runs of little return for his effort. Though a hard worker and a fiery presence on the pitch, it is clear that Roberts might lack the killer instinct needed at Premier League level.
And now, it looks like he might need to move on from Leeds in a bid to find regular game-time. Indeed, the forward has only started back-to-back games for Leeds once since the end of October, doing so in the last two games. It has left the player chasing in the trail of the likes of Helder Costa, who himself is struggling to get starts, Jack Harrison, and Raphinha. Leeds, then, are believed to be looking at options to upgrade in the wide areas – and could see the sale of Roberts as the ideal way to make space for a signing.
Into the last 18 months of his contract, too, he will have just a year to go come the summer – and it is likely that he will need to drop down to the Championship again if he wishes to get game time.
Where will Tyler Roberts play in 2020-21?
Having fielded interest from various teams in the summer, Leeds were keen to keep hold of an exciting young talent. However, it is likely that Roberts will be given a chance to move on from the club in the summer so Leeds can extract some value from the asset. Interestingly, it is reported that more or less all of the interest in Roberts comes from the Championship; clearly, he needs to do more to earn the trust of a top-flight team.
The sticking point comes down to the manager, Marcelo Bielsa. Despite limited production, the Argentine is a known fan of Roberts and it might cause friction with the coach if a favourite was deemed surplus to requirements. Bielsa has been known in the past to put his own transfer control ahead of most other factors, especially when it comes to the keeping of assets who the club do not have to sell.
With no new contract on the horizon and a potential eight-figure sum to be gained from a sale, though, Leeds might see it as counterproductive to keep a player who is not producing enough. If they do this, though, could it have a negative impact on their attempt to keep Bielsa at the club?
This is a talking point, and one that many Leeds fans might concede would be worth investing in if it meant keeping Bielsa himself. Despite Roberts often lacking the quality expected, he has made a strong enough impression on his manager to make his exit not a complete certainty.
If he is to stay, though, it is likely that a new deal would be needed. For now, that seems unlikely, leaving the whole situation a confusing one for all involved.