It’s not been the most promising summer already transfer wise but it feels a whole lot worse today as according to Phil Hay, Kemar Roofe has passed his medical and will join Anderlecht on a three-year deal. With only one year left on his contract and his recent injury issues £7 million seems like a good deal for Leeds United on the face of it, but it doesn’t hide the fact that we have sold a player who has been our top scorer for the past two seasons.
Roofe started his football career with the West Brom Academy, signing his first professional contract in July 2012. After loan spells at Víkingur Reykjavík, Northampton Town, Cheltenham Town, Colchester United and Oxford United he signed for Oxford permanently on 11th May 2015. Roofe made his debut as an Oxford City player in the opening game of the 2015-16 season as his team drew 1-1 with Crawley Town on 8th August 2015. His first goal came in the next game on 15th August 2015 as they drew 2-2 at Luton Town. It was to be a successful season both for Oxford United, who were runners up in League Two and Roofe who was Sky Bet League Two Player of the Year and was also named in League Two Team of The Year.
On 7th July 2016 he joined Leeds United on a four year contract at a fee of £3 million. He made his starting League debut in United's first game of the season in a 0-3 defeat by Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road in which he was replaced by Hadi Sacko after seventy-five minutes. He maintained his place three days later as United won on penalties at Fleetwood Town in the League Cup. After several spells on the bench he had to wait until 3rd December 2016 for his first goal, when he gave United the lead in the sixty-eighth minute at home in a fine 2-0 win over Aston Villa. The second was not long after in the 4-1 win at Deepdale on Boxing Day when he again opened the scoring in the seventeenth minute.
The new season saw him first choice and he opened his account with a hat-trick to give Leeds a 3-1 lead after Newport County had taken a shock lead in the thirty-third minute in the League Cup tie on 22nd August 2017, Leeds eventually won 5-1. Four days later he opened his League account with the opening goal as United won 2-0 at Nottingham Forest. Leeds twice headed the table in September but by October they never returned to the top and slowly slipped further out of contention and finished well out of the running. Roofe followed a similar pattern, but he could be reasonably pleased as he finished the season as Leeds leading goalscorer in the League with eleven goals from twenty-seven starts and nine games from the bench.
He was a key component in the Leeds team under new coach Marcelo Bielsa at the start of the 2018-19 season with his exciting brand of football. Roofe led the way opening his account with two at Pride Park as high-flying Derby County were humiliated 4-1 in front of their own fans. A promising season for Roofe was curtailed by injuries, the first coming after the sixth game and missed the next six as Leeds started to struggle under the weight of an accumulation of injuries. Roofe finished the season with 14 league goals with a further coming in the play-off semi-final first leg. He was injured again and missed the second leg as Leeds capitulated to Derby.
Roofe has never been what you would call prolific, 14 and 11 goals in the last two regular Championship seasons with his highest league tally being 17 in League Two for Oxford United. But with Marcelo Bielsa at the helm Kemar Roofe seemed like the perfect player for his system. A versatile player who has played in every position across the front line, he is hard working with his work off the ball just as important as his work on it and last season he was and has a good footballing brain. At only 5’ 8” he is not the tallest striker but regularly bullied centre halves something Bamford doesn’t really offer. If we are to push on this season and achieve promotion a replacement is a necessity and a proven one at that.
How Victor Orta and Andrea Radrizzani act to replace Roofe will define their ambition for Leeds United. With rumours surrounding Liverpool's Ryan Kent, Inter Milan's Ryan Nolan and Facundo Colidio and a goalkeeper set to come in this could be a busy three days before the transfer window closes.
Kemar Roofe set to complete £7 million Anderlecht move