Tyler Roberts vowed to make an immediate impact on Leeds United’s faltering play-off bid after signing a four-and-a-half year deal at Elland Road.
Keep up with all the top football news and transfer gossip from England, Scotland and beyond with footballwire.co.uk
Roberts finalised a £2.5m move from West Bromwich Albion this morning and insisted he was ready to throw himself into the Championship and help United claim a top-six finish.
The 19-year-old has completed three separate spells on loan in League One, including the first half of this season with Walsall, but he could make his Championship debut on Saturday when Leeds host Cardiff at Elland Road.
“I’ve been in League One last season and the start of last season and I think I coped with it very well,” Roberts told the YEP after sealing his transfer today. “I’ve adapted to each club and I think I’ve got better as well. I’m ready to come into the Championship and show what I’m about.
“I’d like to think I can go straight into the first team and have an impact. Of course it’s not about me, it’s about the team and me being able to gel with them, but I can’t wait to get into training.
“I know they’re pushing for the play-offs and that’s a big thing to come into. It’ll be exciting times.”
United stepped into sign Roberts - a prospect they had been tracking for sometime - yesterday after West Brom began listening to bids for the Wales Under-21 international. His situation at The Hawthorns was dramatically altered on Monday night by the arrival of England striker Daniel Sturridge on loan from Liverpool.
Leeds have taken their January spending to over £6m by paying an initial fee of £2.5m and Roberts’ contract at Elland Road will run to the summer of 2022.
His deal at West Brom was due to end this summer and Albion had failed with repeated attempts to agree fresh terms with him.
The club were at risk of losing Roberts for a minimal compensation at the end of the season and opted to cash in on him after landing Sturridge, despite initial suggestions that manager Alan Pardew would use him in the second half of the Premier League term.
Roberts, who played once for West Brom in the top flight in 2016, said: “There’s no problems with me back at West Brom. There was just the situation of me wanting to go and play. When a big club like Leeds comes in for you it seems like the perfect opportunity to go and do that.
“Everyone hears things about what’s going on but I was just training there, pushing to get into the team. Then I start to know that Leeds was more of a serious note so I was prepared for anything.
“It’s gone into talks with West Brom and my agent and it became more set in stone that it could happen. If you get asked to come here, it’s a massive honour. Any player would.”
I’d like to think I can go straight into the first team and have an impact. Of course it’s not about me, it’s about the team and me being able to gel with them,New Leeds United striker Tyler Roberts
Roberts played 19 times for Walsall in League One, scoring five times, and said he was coming to Elland Road in good physical condition.
Leeds are 10th in the Championship and four points off the play-offs after a run of five league games without a win but the forward said he was confident of increasing the club’s goal threat.
“I’d say I’m a positive, forward-thinking player,” he said. “I like to get at people, take them on and create things. I like to be a big influence in the team, get goals, get shots off and just be a threat. I’d say I’m quick.
“I’ve been at Walsall for six months and I’ve had a lot of games there - started a lot of games and hit the back of the net five times. I feel confident and I feel good.”
Roberts is likely to be Leeds’ final January signing, although the club are understood to be considering the last-minute addition of a centre-back after injuries and suspensions left Pontus Jansson as their only fit option during last night’s 0-0 draw at Hull City.
Jansson, collected his ninth yellow card in that game and is one booking away from a two-match ban.
Don’t miss the latest football transfer news and gossip from leagues in England, Scotland and Europe with footballwire.co.uk