Kemar Roofe says Rangers move is 'incredible' after signing four-year deal with Ibrox club
The 27-year-old becomes Rangers’ fifth new recruit of the summer transfer window after joining from Anderlecht for an undisclosed fee believed to be in the region of £4 million.
Roofe moved to the Belgian club from Leeds United at the start of last season and still had two years left on his contract.
“It’s amazing,” said Roofe after completing a deal which went largely under the radar until his arrival at Rangers’ training ground.
“Things happened so quickly, so it’s difficult to get a perspective of what’s really going on. But obviously coming here to the training ground, seeing the environment and meeting the staff, you realise this is serious. It’s a big place.”
Roofe, born in Walsall and eligible to play international football for Jamaica, began his career at West Bromwich Albion but was unable to make a first team breakthrough with the West Midlands club.
After loan spells at Vikingur Reykjavik, Northampton Town, Cheltenham Town, Colchester United and Oxford United, he made a permanent move to Oxford in 2015. Roofe scored 26 goals in the 2015-16 campaign to help Oxford win promotion to League One, earning him a £3.15 million transfer to Leeds that summer.
After scoring 33 goals in 123 appearances for Leeds over three seasons, proving a hugely popular figure with the Elland Road support, Roofe joined Anderlecht in a £5.4 million deal.
Playing under the management of former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany at Anderlecht, he scored seven goals in 16 appearances before his season was curtailed by a calf injury suffered during the winter break.
“I am delighted to join Rangers and look forward to meeting up with my new teammates,” added Roofe in an interview with Rangers TV.
"Rangers are a huge club with ambition and I know this is the right fit for me to progress my career. I am looking forward to experiencing Ibrox and am excited to play in Europe.”
Roofe is not eligible for Rangers’ rescheduled Europa League last 16 second leg match against Bayer Leverkusen in Germany on Thursday evening but could make his debut in Sunday’s Premiership fixture against St Mirren at Ibrox.
“The main goal (for me here) is obviously to win and get success again (for the club),” he said.
“As a footballer, you want to keep testing yourself and you also want to be playing at the biggest clubs possible.
“Unfortunately with Covid, the fans won’t be there (at Ibrox) just now. But when it gets resolved, the atmosphere will be incredible. In my past, I’ve been blessed to be able to play in front of the Leeds fans and Anderlecht fans. Now this is another step and it’s going to be incredible.”
Roofe’s arrival will intensify speculation Rangers may accept any revised bid from Lille for top scorer Alfredo Morelos. The French club initially failed to meet Rangers’ valuation of the Colombian international striker, believed to be around £20 million.
But Rangers manager Steven Gerrard was already committed to bolstering his firepower in the transfer market, regardless of whether Morelos stays or goes during the current transfer window which does not close until 5 October.
Gerrard expressed his satisfaction at the capture of Roofe who can operate either centrally or on the right in attack.
“Kemar is recognised throughout Europe as an intelligent attacker with an eye for goal,” said Gerrard. “I look forward to working with him and recognise his potential to further progress our starting XI.
"He has experienced the pressure and expectation at Leeds United and has played on the continent which will stand him in good stead for his time at Ibrox.”
Roofe’s signing follows the earlier recruitment of playmaker Ianis Hagi on a permanent deal from Genk for £3 million and the free transfer signings of goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin and defenders Calvin Bassey and Leon Balogun.
Rangers sporting director Ross Wilson says Roofe had been identified as a priority signing several weeks ago by the Ibrox club.
“Kemar was a primary target going into this transfer window and we are absolutely delighted that he has chosen to join Rangers,” said Wilson.
"He is a player that has been admired for some time by Steven and the staff and we are all very excited about what he can add to our team.”
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