"I've been wanting to be the main man for a long time." Bamford ready to lead the line at Leeds United

Patrick Bamford
Patrick Bamford
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Patrick Bamford vowed to establish himself as the “main man” at Leeds United after joining the club in a £7m deal.

Bamford said the opportunity to play regularly as an out-and-out striker had been part of the appeal behind his transfer after finalising a switch from Middlesbrough this afternoon.

Leeds have handed Bamford a four-year contract and the number nine shirt and his arrival from The Riverside ends a long wait for United to land a new centre-forward.

Bamford’s goals took him to the Championship’s player-of-the-year award at Middlesbrough three years ago and the 24-year-old struck 13 times last season during Boro’s run to the play-offs.

He struggled for regular starts in his preferred position, however, and the former Chelsea youngster’s career is still looking for impetus following a string of unsuccessful loans which came before a £6m move to Boro in January 2017.

Bamford told LUTV: “I’ve been needing to play up front and wanting to be the main man somewhere for a long time. Leeds have given me that opportunity and it’s something I’ve grabbed with both hands.

“I know some big players have worn (the number nine shirt) and there probably is a bit of pressure but I’ll try and do my part and even if when don’t get goals, I’ll always chip in for the team.

“It means a lot that they’ve put their trust in me. I hope to be able to repay them. I think it’s going to be a good season.”

Bamford said he had first become aware of United’s interest via newspaper reports and revealed that Leeds’ midfielder Adam Forshaw - a former team-mate of his at The Riverside - had encouraged him to take up the chance to move to Elland Road.

His arrival makes him the most expensive signing at Leeds since Robbie Fowler’s switch from Liverpool in £11m, one of the last big deals preceding United’s financial collapse and relegation from the Premier League.

“I saw it in the press and I was interested,” Bamford said. “I thought ‘hang on a minute, a big club are looking at me there.’ Then it kept going with more paper talk and when they put a bid into Boro it finally became a reality.

“I remembered Leeds from last season when we played them at The Riverside. Their away fans were...you know sometimes where random things stick in your mind? Their following and the noise they made even though we beat them that day, that stuck with me.

“I could see the project. I knew Victor Orta from his time at Middlesbrough. I spoke to him and he explained what the philosophy and the idea behind bringing the new manager (Marcelo Bielsa) in was. That just sold it to me straight away. It’s very cliched when everyone says ‘to join such a big club’ but it’s true.

“I’ve been speaking to Forshaw ever since I knew about the interest. He’s been egging me on to come.”