Kevin Phillips is convinced Leeds United have sent a message to rival clubs they are willing to let Tyler Roberts go this month.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former England striker believes Roberts’ absence from the matchday squad for last weekend’s 3-0 defeat to Tottenham is a hint to potential suitors the player is available for transfer.
Marcelo Bielsa insisted at his media conference on Friday that he rates the forward is a “very important” player for the Yorkshire giants and has always been in his plans.
Nonetheless, Roberts is not expected to play any part in Sunday’s FA Cup tie against Crawley due to an injury problem.
He has also not featured in Leeds’ last four matches at a time when the club are being deluged with enquiries from teams keen to sign him this month.
“I think it is only a matter of time,” Phillips told Football Insider. “When you get left out of matchday squad at the beginning of a transfer window it is a sign to other clubs, quite often, that he is available.
“It has not quite worked out for Roberts this season so I expect him to leave.
“It would free up room on the wage bill for somebody to come in. It would not surprise me if he left in this window.”‘
Roberts, who turns 22 on Tuesday, has made just two Premier League starts this season among eight appearances in the competition.
He has a total of 63 games under his belt for Leeds in the three years since signing from West Brom.