Max Gradel has today revealed that he has yet to receive a new contract offer from Leeds United. 

It’s been a nervous transfer window for Whites fans with West Ham United submitting a bid for the Ivorian winger and continuous speculation linking Gradel with a myriad of Premier League and Championship clubs.

With only a year left on his current deal, some fans fear a repeat of the Jermaine Beckford saga which saw the highly-rated striker leave on a free after his contract with the club expired.

Max Gradel responded to fans cries to sign his contract with the following;

 “Since I came to Leeds, I’ve always said that I want to be at this club. My contract finishes at the end of this season and I’ve been waiting for another contract but I haven’t been offered one yet. I don’t know what’s happening and I’ll wait and see.

“My wish was to do it as early as possible but it’s not down to me, it’s down to the club. I can’t sign a deal if there isn’t any deal to sign. But really, all I want to do is concentrate on football and play football.

“There’ll be higher expectations of me but I love pressure and it makes me play better. My aim would be to score more than 18 goals this season.”

The news has been met with a mixed reaction from Leeds United fans across the social networking sites and forums. Some feel Gradel’s situation is just another example of the club leaving it too late and making themselves vulnerable whilst others take a more pragmatic view, insisting that Max Gradel’s contract is a non-issue at the moment.

There’s a couple of ways you can look at this really. The first is that Leeds United are waiting for the transfer window to close before deciding on Max Gradel’s future because if they signed him up to an extended contract now, only to receive an acceptable offer later, they’d have already coughed up a signing-on fee that was largely pointless. His agent could also use the open transfer window and ongoing speculation as a bargaining chip for negotiating.

Another school of thought is that Max still has a year left on his current deal. He signed a two and a half year extension in January 2010, so when was the right time to renegotiate? Six months after the original deal when he’d just been sent off v Bristol and nearly cost us promotion? If we’re going to renew everyone’s contracts after 6-12 months, there’s little point in them signing a 3 year contract in the first place.

The fact of the matter is, that most contracts are renegotiated around the 6-12 months remaining stage. Leeds United have said before that they don’t discuss new deals during the transfer window, and that makes sense when you consider the player could end up leaving if an offer “too good to refuse” arrived. It could just be the funding Bates needs to build his new Travelodge after all.

Leeds United fans’ concerns are completely understandable. What happened with Jermaine Beckford has fans fearing that all our best players will walk away once we’ve nurtured them into stars and put their name on people’s radars, and there’s always a chance they will – this is 21st century footballing culture after all and loyalty is a rare commodity.

But, the new contract we’re all so desperate for Gradel to sign will be offered. Max will be given the opportunity to remain at Elland Road and sign a new deal. If he accepts then that’s great, happy days! If he doesn’t his mind is already elsewhere and there’s little we can do about it.

If Max wants to leave, contracts are irrelevant, players hold all the cards. Sure, we might have got a couple of million for him if he had a longer contract, but you’re kidding yourself if you think that money would have been spent on improving the squad and not Ken Bates’ vanity project.