EXCLUSIVE

Noel Whelan has expressed his surprise that Aston Villa are targeting Leeds United striker Kemar Roofe after securing Premier League promotion.

Football Insider revealed last week that Dean Smith’s side have placed the striker, 26, “high on their wanted list” as they prepare a summer swoop to prise him from Elland Road.

Ex-United front man Whelan believes Villa are looking at Roofe as his contract situation makes him easier to sign than the likes of Chelsea sensation Tammy Abraham, who made such an impact during the recent season.

“It does make sense as Leeds have not sorted out a new deal for Roofe, and he could be signed for £10million, but I thought they’d be looking at a bigger name,” Whelan exclusively told Football Insider.

“Yes, Kemar did well last season but is he good enough for the Premier League? Maybe Aston Villa fans will want something more. He is not Tammy Abraham, that’s for sure. Is Roofe better than or as good as Abraham? No.

“But Villa’s chances of getting Abraham are remote, with the transfer ban in place at Chelsea. They are likely to have a good look at him in pre-season and next season. He is good enough for them.”

Roofe has a year remaining on his contract with Leeds but talks have yet to get underway on an extension after the club stalled them last season.

He topped Leeds’ scoring charts with 15 league goals in 2018-19 despite missing a third of the Championship campaign due to injury.

The West Brom academy product joined Leeds from Oxford United for £3million in 2016 and has scored 33 times in 122 games after being converted into a centre-forward with some success.

In other Leeds United news, it can be REVEALED that a Whites ace is quitting after agreeing a £13,000-a-week contract with a new club.