Luciano Becchio

On a live post match phone in this weekend, Eddie Gray told one caller that whilst Becchio may be saying he wants to sign in public, it’s an entirely different story behind the scenes where the Argentinian is telling those close to him that he wants to play in the Premier League.

This is hardly a revelation, as Luciano has said previously that he wanted to play in the Premier League but Eddie Gray’s response suggests he may be stalling Leeds’ contract negotiations to see if he can get a quicker route to the top flight in January.

The Leeds United legend was noticeably frustrated with the fans one-sided view of this situation and was attempting to add some perspective with his response. His comments came as a caller was leading the Becchio love-in, failing to consider the players part in the discussions when criticising Leeds United for not getting his contract tied up sooner.

What’s interesting here is the PR campaign we’ve seen from Grayson, Bates and everyone else at the club in recent weeks. If Gray’s comments are true and Luciano is stalling and considering his options, then the constant statements of reassurance from Elland Road may have been designed to keep interested clubs at bay by quashing suggestions of a transfer.

I know Bates likes to blame the language barrier, but for contract talks to have gone on this long, Becchio must have rejected several offers already?The club, clearly desperate to secure his signature remain incredibly calm and respectful about Becchio in the press, whilst a couple of rejections from Bradley resulted in an onslaught. I suspect the club want both players to remain at Elland Road, so can only conclude the club fears Becchio could leave, whilst they can play fast and loose with Johnson because he may struggle to find a better team.

Whilst I worry that we may lose Becchio in the same way we lost Beckford last season, I think Eddie Gray’s comments were needed to add some balance to this whole saga. For most fans, it was inconceivable to think Becchio may be the one stalling negotiations as he tries to find a better deal elsewhere. It was much easier to blame the club and demand they treble his salary, never considering that the player may not bleed blue, white and yellow after all…?

  • Ron

    Good story and a scenario we should all prepare for. Obviously I’d love him to reach the premiership with us, but good luck to him if he finds a way in January. I gather he’s seen Beckford snare a contract and fancies a crack himself. At least we have depth in our forward line, although there is no hiding my disappointment if we lose a player who has really dug in for us. No one is bigger than the club. MOT

    • stotty

      Why would he not want to play regular football at Leeds rather than go to a prem club just for the money. If that is the case as with JB then football is not the main factor here. Three seasons ago he was in the Spanish third tier! If he doesn’t want to stay I would keep him until the summer and if we go up we can buy as good if not better. We have Somma, Paynter and McCormack. The latter has impressed me greatly particularly on Saturday and I look forward to seeing more of Paynter. There are plenty of clubs out there using their Tax and VAT to keep going so you do not know as a player what you are potentially moving on to. The trouble is the absolute nonsense that players contracts are secure in financial meltdown unless a club actually goes out of business and that can’t be right. I did wonder in the summer why we signed up so many attackers and I guess the club saw the potential for a problem over contracts. however, I hope he stays and the other two as well.

  • Lowfields

    I think this is, sadly, the way of the football world these days… the difference in wages between the Premier League and the Championship has never been wider, and a player nearing 27 has to feel he only has one chance left of a big payday. In reality, you can hardly blame him for wanting to secure his future.

    That said, I hope he can be convinced to stay to see whether we can all get to the top flight together. And even if we fail, I hope he would do the honourable thing and sign a contract so we could actually get a fee for him. After all, to paraphrase the Human League, he shouldn’t forget it was us who put him where he is now…

  • Clarkeonenil

    Your column is a mountain made from the smallist mole-hill and IMHO shows some inconsitancy on your part (given your pro Beckford positions this time last year). The FACTS are that unlike Johnson Becchio HASN’T turned down our final offer, HASN’T like Beckford did handed in a transfer request and HASN’T done anything other than play and play well. If we sell Becchio it will be because the CLUB accepts a substancial offer and that is the only part of your article that makes sense, Becchio has proved his quality in the championship this season (much to the gruding surprise of some) and if a PL team makes an offer for him then that should surprise no-one! In the meantime try to enjoy the clubs only proper striker without looking for issues not there.

    • TSS

      Capital letters for emphasis, MG? Or do you just like shouting at me?

      OK, a few inaccuracies in your own reply.

      The above wan’t about whether we should or should not sign him, because we definitely should even if it’s only for resale value.

      The above is about whether Becchio wants to sign. Too many fans seem to be pointing all the fingers at the club and failing to consider whether Becchio simply wants to leave and play elsewhere.

      As for the final offer – I doubt they’d ever use such words in dealing with Becchio. A key difference.

  • White to the core

    I think it more likely that the recent Elland Rd pr campaign is purely to conn the fans. That malingering laser sighted old git Bates Knows Becchio is a fans favorite and he should never have been allowed to get to a point where he was in the last year of his contract. There will be/would be hell on if the truth about Becchios contract negotians or obvious lack of had been made public. I have Becchio as a ‘friend ‘ on facebook and as i understand it he does want to play in premiership and would prefer it to be with Leeds. He believes we can do it this season and is hoping the club do a Beckford with him. If come May Leeds are promoted i have no doubt he will stay. However come May if Leeds are still in the Championship then its highly likely he will leave but only if it is a club with a history of Premiership security. So all depends on what offers we get for him in January and if Bates does treat him like Beckford. If so then It looks like the fortunes of the club will decide if Becchio stays or goes. I hope he stays, but only if its in leeds best interests. mot

  • Matt BB

    I’m less worried to be honest, as much as i rate becchio we have an embarassment of riches up front, Paynter, Mccormack, Somma, Watt, Snodgrass..

    The real pity is that we dont seem to be learning our lessons from the beckford saga, for the life of me i dont know why Bates doesnt just box clever, and tinker with the terms of the contracts stating offfers above £Xm will trigger a release?

    I dont think Becchio would thrive in the EPL as it goes, but this is supposition at the end of the day,

    Worst comes to worst and he goes – it wont be to a NPC rival so not so bad.

  • Paul C

    This whole contract saga between Becchio , Johnson and all the rest is a concern we probably do not need, whats more we have absolutely no influence over.

    Eddie Gray is absolutely right in that this saga could well have more to do with Becchios wish to play in the premiership rather than anything else.

    Fans need to face reality , forget public announcements by players , forget badge kissing and all that other crap.

    The bottom line is simple. In the Championship an average player is likely to be earning £350K – £500k and in the premiership £2m upwards. On a 4 year contract that is a difference of up to £7m. If Bechio is offered such a deal he is out of here. Without even a look backwards.

    In view of Becchios current form I would expect the likes of West Ham , Wolves , Wigan to already be sending scouts to watch him. The only question here is if a premiership club actually makes him an offer, will it be a club he wants to go to. Leeds cannot compete with ANY club in the premiership, if there is an offer and it is in the prem – we need to find another ‘free’ replacement.

  • Matt

    I’d be more annoyed with Becchio than i was with Beckford if he leaves. At least Beckford made it clear he wanted to leave, whereas if Becchio goes, i think a lot of us will feel stabbed in the back.

  • Tony Watson

    Becchio will NOT be signing a new contract with Leeds.

    He can easily double his money elsewhere.

    This is not a dig at Bates as we need a proper wage structure in place and it would be madness to over-extend ourselves again.

    Besides WHEN (not IF) we go up Becchio wont be good enough for the Prem League – just look at Beckford :-)

    Paynter, McCormack and Somma will be plenty good enough when Becchio leaves in January.

    Bye Bye Becchio – it was fun.

  • Mark R

    As Matt BB says the contract terms really should be tightened up to prevent this kind of scenario happening. We do have several squad options in attack as well.

    It’s the nature of the game now, and Becchio’s just trying to get the best deal for him & his family while his star is in the ascendency.How far he takes negotiations is up to him really.

    What’s important is right here , right now . QPR up next – Becchio is on fire at the moment – mutually beneficial to himself and the team.

    MOT

  • paul

    paul c, you have just mentioned 3 prem teams where he might go, if he goes to any of them then he will be playing championship footy again next year. i think there is truth in what E.G says, i do think he has one eye on the prem in jan. at the end of the day there is very little loyalty in our game anymore, especially from someone who is from the other side of the world. after watching the 2nd half of the game on saturday i think we are a couple of additions awy from auto promo this season and that is not me getting carried away. so mr becchio give ya head a shek and stay put and go to the prem with one of the biggest names in british football. . . .M.O.T !!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Paul C

      You may be right Paul but it doesnt really matter if they get relegated , if he gets a contract then whatever happens he gets his money.

      The three clubs mentioned were only examples , my main point is no matter how illustious our history , no matter how big or small the clubs name is the place where the money is ,the premiership.

  • paul

    P.S all those of you that harp on about LUFC and dont go to the games get yself down to elland rd on sat and get behind the boys, they deserve bigger crowds than they are getting

  • Tim Wilsom

    I’m thinking he’s seen the allure of the illuminations, great for the kiddies.We already have replacements on the books so no big deal for me, keep him till the end of the season and see how he feels then, if he still wants out, sayonara.

  • tommy wright legend

    Come on everybody although there’s no doubting bechio’s commitment etc but let’s be honest he’s no world beater, don’t want to stay off you go.

  • Gryff

    I’m going to wear the stoical-Victorian-hat on this one and say:
    “Che sara sara”

    … Oh bugger – that’s Italian…

    If we don’t keep Becchio then we’ve still got McCormack & Somma, but I think we’d need a different kind of striker to go with them and thus would need to replace him.

    Putting myself in Becchio’s shoes, he could probably get into a handful of 25-man squads in the Premiership, but are there any where he would walk into the first team and whose fans’ love for him make it nigh on impossible to sell him?

    Stick with Leeds, it’s the sensible choice.

  • Craig

    @gryff

    What kind of Italian do you speak? Looks more like you’ve hit upon a Mexican gangsters’ moll to me.

    • TheReaper08

      @craig Wasn’t Che sara sara a South American revolutionary…….

      • Craig

        @TheReapero8

        Yeah, but that was too obvious ;) As it was I think my comment was so cryptic that trueyorxman missed it entirely!

        • Craig

          BTW Reaper, is that really you?

          I know we’ve both been quiet for some while and not dialogued directly since the summer but I could have sworn you were TheReaper08 and not the TheReapero8 that now appears above your post.

          • TheReaper08

            @craig Hello mate, yes it is really me. It is Zero Eight at the end as it always has been but as the zero appears quite small I do get a fair bit of letter o and then 8.

            Anyway, how you keeping ? I have been around on here generally causing chaos.

            Ref your above comment it was pretty obvious but that’s me all over.

          • Craig

            @TheReaper08

            Just checking that I’m not corresponding with an imposter!

            I’ve been keeping up with the site and making occasional posts (mostly posing as Mike’s nemesis) but my desperate search for a job is keeping me very busy – busier than when I was working!

          • TheReaper08

            @craig You are currently out of work then craig? Tough time of year but keep at it my friend and good luck, there is definately something out there for you.

            I have a lot of holiday to burn so I have been on quite a bit lately, mostly annoying colin and TSS over the Bradley Johnson saga.

          • TSS

            @TheReaper08 @craig

            Yeah… apparently I’m anti-Bates!

            Who knew?

        • Craig

          @TheReaper08

          Maybe TSS would employ me as his typo corrector!

          @TSS

          How dare you trespass into GOMs domain!

        • Gryff

          “Che Sara Sara” is the medieval Italian motto that inspired the song that was later turned into “Que sera, sera” (which is also grammatically incorrect) because there are more Spanish speakers. ;)

  • Ash

    I’ve heard blackburn and Bolton are looking at him

  • trueyorxman

    @gryff: its ‘Que sera sera’, I think what you wrote was Welsh!!

    • Gryff

      @trueyorxman: the song is, but the motto isn’t!

  • sveifors

    If we loose Becchio, Kilkenny and Johnson so be it. The club can no longer be held ransom from single players. Last season we needed Beckfords goals and we had no backup. This season we are well covered in Somma, McCormack, Paynter., and we can always get more

  • Chris from Wakey

    Some very interesting comments about Becchio and comparisons with Johnson and Beckford. Leaving aside whether he wants to go or just wants more dosh etc the stupid thing is that if he doesn’t go in January then he goes for nowt in May and that really is dumb. We have plenty of dross in our over large squad who are not playing but still costing the club money – the least the club should be doing is making sure that if anyone does go then there is some sort of return when they leave. That’s not Becchios fault nor is it Simon Graysons – Uncle Ken should have sorted it out long before now.

    • Tony Curries Curler

      I’m not one for defending Bates but. Surely we can’t negotiate nor would the players negotiate any new contracts unless they knew what division they were playing in. For many quite obvious reasons.

      So when we were promoted we began the contract talks. But as we’ve climbed the league the greedy agents think they can get a better deal for their clients. And Bates has made a stance and I for one am pleased he has. Many many clubs are in financial trouble. No one has learned the lessons of the Ridsdale era, except hopefully us.

      When you consider the players humble backgrounds it’s a bit of a joke. But like someone said there is no loyalty in football. So as fans nor should we. We support the club and any one player will come and go such is life I for instance still hasn’t got over Currie going! If Becchio goes and we win promotion we’ll find another hero. No big deal. It’s the way of things.

  • carl pearson

    if any of our players want out let em go asap dont let any player take the p..s out of us or our club again!

  • KohSamuiWhites

    Interesting article cheers pal.I had my reservations regarding Becchios ability to move up to Championship level.Fair play to him he,s doing the business.I think we have players good enough to step in and do the job if we were to lose Becchio.If we don,t make it up this season i wouldn,t blame him for trying his luck in the Premiership if an offer came in for him.I know it,s scant consolation but at least we didn,t pay a fee for him.(Lee sharpe 5M,Thomas Brolin 4.5M)spring to mind.There,s a lot of other clubs in similar situations regarding player contracts.On a slightly different tack.I don,t ever remember such a topsy turvy season as this year.21 games in and i,m still not sure whether to be confident or not.MOT.

  • John Ganmble

    Agent… agents…agents. Bradley does not want to be in the same room as KB or SG on his own. Bless him. I am sure a game is being played between the club and Becchio’s representatives. The players don’t get involved until the tipping point is reached ie a final offer is made or another club make a firm move. Up front we do have cover but LB has been on great form and Bradley does his bit. If they both went in Jan, we still have options.

  • dixie

    why would becchio want to leave leeds ? hes got a hero status where he wont get anywhere else !!!!!! cost less than berbatov and he scores more goals !!!!! mot .

  • Mikelufc

    @dixie
    well said that man, say no more!

    • dixie

      lucciano loves leeds ! leeds leeds leeds ! MOT

  • Mikelufc

    Can we mix it with the big boys?
    yes we can
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pef6rqGt74U

  • Leeds fan

    If that is the case and he is waiting for a beter offer then get shut. no one is bigger than Leeds utd

  • lar

    if leeds get a decent amount for becchio there as well to sell the lad,should have been a done deal by the christmas.becchio could have been tapped up and is on the move in january.we have good and better back-ups if the argie leaves.well happy christmas to all….leeeeds.

  • EYLeeds

    I can see Becchio making the squad of a team like Stoke or Blackburn but he isn’t likely to be anything more than warming their bench. If we get promoted would we really be expecting Becchio to spearhead our attack in the long term?
    I can see him agreeing a one year extension with a promotion linked increase included. I genuinely think he wants to remain at Leeds, but he has to get the deal he wants or he will walk and get it elsewhere.

  • Max.

    If I were his agent I’d be telling him to wait till after the Arsenal game in case, as with Beckford last year, his valuation gets a boost from a televised game against Premier League competition.

    If he wants to stay, great, I think he’s done enough to earn a decent contract. I think he’d do OK in the Premier League, based on his showing this season, and in the right team. If he wants to leave, also fine, sell him. I don’t think he’s the kind of player who’ll do well for us if demotivated.

  • Roy Ellam

    It is of course possible he does love playing for us- his performances suggest that. Anyone on this thread might love their job, yet if someone else comes along and offers to treble your money what are you going to do? And everyone seems to be forgetting that Bates’s priority is not the club, but to shovel profits to the offshore tax haven where the owners (whoever they are) have domiciled the company. If he can get good money for Becchio he will and he’s hardly likely likely to reinvest it – Leeds almost never pay a transfer fee these days, despite having a higher income than any other club in the division.
    We are notably overstaffed in the forward department however so all is not lost; one wonders if Grayson, a wily character, stocked up ahead of this scenario knowing that one of the strikers would have to go in January and that it would probably be Becchio. In a poor division a deep squad pays dividends which is partly why we’re starting to climb the table now.

  • foreverwhite

    The stalling by Becchio, if true , may well be a hangover from the drawn out Beckford saga . Becchio may well have been keeping an eye on Beckford’s progress with an eye to his own future. I have mixed feelings about it since he has made tremendous progress since Leeds, who did take a gamble on an unknown player, signed him on. However he has fulfilled his contract ,with interest, and I suppose he must be thinking about his future.

  • BIG MAN

    If becchio does leave then thanks for the good times, but we do have strenghth in depth and if where still playing as well as we are now in january will have players fighting with each other to come to us .

  • steve underwood

    I have been thinking about this one,i think he may have turned down a new deal in the summer and im not sure he was going to be first choice striker.the problem was paynter getting injured ment we had to to keep him other wise i think he may have been sold why else would we sign so many strikers ie paynter mcormack watt somma but they were all injured so he had to stay,i also think killa will go to

  • Andy Flynn

    Eating your words yet again regarding becchio tss

  • Clarkeonenil

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/l/leeds_united/9302241.stm

    No further comment required (unless you think TSS guilt tripped Becchio into signing ;-) )