By Graham Hill
LEEDS have opened talks with Villa target Kemar Roofe in a bid to stop him leaving Elland Road.
According to the Daily Star, Villa are leading the chase for the Leeds striker after winning promotion to the Premier League.
Roofe is down the pecking order at Leeds when it comes to wages and they believe they can tempt him to stay with a big pay rise.
Marcelo Bielsa is keen to keep Roofe as they stage another bid for promotion after leading the Championship table at Christmas and then collapsing against Derby in the Play-off semi-finals.
Roofe, 26, was signed by former Leeds boss – now at Birmingham – Garry Monk in 2016 from Oxford.
Ex-Leeds striker Noel Whelan does not think Roofe is the man Villa should be trying to sign.
He told Football Insider: “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.”
Roofe scored 15 goals for Leeds last season despite being absent for three months because of injury. Smith will want a replacement for Tammy Abraham if he cannot bring the Chelsea back after a successful loan spell at Villa Park saw him net 26 times.