Opinion

Leeds United know they’re onto a winner with transfer replacement despite no debut yet – View

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Image for Leeds United know they’re onto a winner with transfer replacement despite no debut yet – View

Leeds United terminated Djed Spence’s loan deal in the January window and replaced him late on with the loan signing of Connor Roberts from Burnley.

It was one of the quietest January windows in recent years with many clubs feeling the pinch due to FFP reasons, so every signing that was made had to count.

That was especially so for Leeds in the Championship, with wages for loan signings something they cannot afford to pay unless they’re seeing a return – which wasn’t the case for Djed Spence.

Djed Spence recalled after constant lateness

The window was dominated by Leeds’ several decisions in the right-back position, firstly terminating Djed Spence’s loan at the club to send him back to Tottenham.

His immediate loan move to Genoa with a reduced buy option underlined that neither Leeds nor Tottenham were wanting anything to do with him, and further evidence has shown why.

The Athletic’s Phil Hay reported after the window’s closure that the defender was persistently late, even when the club were meeting to tell him he was leaving:

“Farke grew tired of Spence’s demeanour and performance levels, and issues around punctuality were underlined by the player arriving late for the meeting where he was told he would be going back early to parent club Tottenham Hotspur.”

Where will Leeds finish in 23/24?

League-winners

League-winners

Automatic promotion

Automatic promotion

3rd-6th

3rd-6th

Outside the playoffs

Outside the playoffs

Leeds replace Spence with a 100% committed Roberts

Every player’s first interview at a new club comes with the cliches that feed the fans what they want to hear about their player, that he “couldn’t say no once ‘X club’ came calling” and other phrases to that effect.

However, with Connor Roberts having to wait until Saturday for his debut, his first noises as a Leeds player really outline how happy he is to be here.

First and foremost, he looks grateful for the opportunity to play more football than he was getting at Burnley, and anecdotes from his first official interview demonstrated he always had a craving to play at Elland Road for Leeds, having experienced life as an opposition player, leaving him in awe – via The Athletic:

“I couldn’t put my exact finger on it but some of you might remember the first time I ever played here was for Middlesbrough. It was Garry Monk’s first game back here (in 2017), my league debut in the Championship. I started and I just thought ‘wow, this is brilliant’.”

Not only that, but he made it very clear that his ‘straight loan’ at LS11 would hopefully lead to something more long-term:

“Football’s a funny game so I’ll be doing my very best to make a good impression on and off the pitch and maybe in the future it can change from a straight loan.”

Quiz: Has Patrick Bamford scored more or less Leeds United goals than these 15 former players?

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Has Bamford scored more or less for Leeds than Jack Charlton?

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Leeds United season ticket holder since 2013/14, currently situated in the middle of the FA5 noise. From Pablo Hernandez to 5-1 drubbings, I've seen it all at Elland Road.