Leeds United will not be making leading scorer Luciano Becchio another contract offer as he edges closer to the Elland Road exit door, according to boss Neil Warnock.
The Argentinean striker, who has 19 goals to his name this season, handed in a transfer request, disrupting United’s planning for tomorrow’s FA Cup fourth-round tie at home to Tottenham.
Becchio’s request to move on comes amid three bids for him from overseas clubs, one believed to be in China, and towards the end of a month which has seen Warnock criticise the player for allowing his head to be turned by talk of a move away.
The 29-year-old has 18 months left to run on his current deal and Warnock claimed that they have offered him a new three-and-a-half-year one on the best terms he has known since moving to the club in February last year.
New owners GFH Capital will not be increasing the offer, though, meaning the odds of Becchio moving on before next Thursday are short.
“It’s been below the surface for a while now. We have been talking about a new contract for Luciano but it’s the player’s prerogative,” Warnock said.
“We had two offers which we turned down and another yesterday. They’re all from abroad.”
This is not the first time Leeds’ fans have seen their leading player go through a transfer saga. In recent windows, Jermaine Beckford, Max Gradel, Jonny Howson and Robert Snodgrass have all moved on.
Warnock, though, is keen to stress that Becchio is looking at things from a financial point of view rather than an ambition one.
“He is thinking about his family and his life. We have offered him three and a half years, on more than anyone I’ve known since I’ve been here,” said Warnock.
“But he knows come Thursday that if he is still here, he gets on with it.”
Talk over Becchio’s future has been one of a number of distractions Warnock has had to contend with.
Newspaper reports had Aston Villa defender Matt Lowton saying Warnock had told him and his fellow ball boys when manager of Sheffield United to engage in the sort of time-wasting seen prior to Eden Hazard’s incident at Swansea on Wednesday.
Warnock, though, denied all knowledge of it, saying: “I have never spoken to a ball boy.”
The Leeds boss also refused to be drawn on reports linking him with moves for both Aston Villa’s Stephen Warnock.