The 29-year-old Argentinian striker has been at the centre of continuous transfer speculation since mid-December, with Neil Warnock revealing earlier this month that he’d “had his head turned”.
A statement on Leeds United’s official site revealed the club has already rejected two bids while trying to agree a new deal with the striker.
As the blame games commence, it’s worth considering that Luciano Becchio’s next contract is likely to be his last and most profitable. Had Leeds United been in a position where promotion looked likely, I’m sure he’d have waited until the end of the season in the hope of being able to agree a Premier League pay hike. Unfortunately, the chances of Leeds United achieving promotion this season are slim to none.
From the owners perspective, Luciano is already the highest paid player at the club and they’ve offered to increase his salary. But there’s only so much you can offer players as a second tier club. If other interested clubs are offering substantially more, Leeds can’t be expected to match that. Not with attendances of 18,000 and promotion out of the question.
In this instance, I don’t think anyone’s at fault. Luciano Becchio has been a great servant to the club and should leave with our best wishes. GFH meanwhile have offered to increase the Argentinian’s salary and he’s decided to leave regardless. This isn’t the same as it was under Ken Bates, he would have sold Becchio when the first offer arrived before channelling the funds into another pointless vanity project.
That’s not to say GFH shouldn’t be judged by this saga. The real acid test for our new owners isn’t whether they can hold onto key players or not, we have to be realistic in that respect, we’re a second tier club, every time we find someone a little bit special it’s going to be a uphill struggle to retain them. Instead, our verdict on GFH should be based on what happens to the funds from the sale of these players.
If said funds are reinvested into the team, then that’s good enough for me. It would represent a seismic shift in policy from what we endured under Ken Bates.
It’s interesting that the Becchio news coincides with the Yorkshire Evening Post’s report on a possible return for Max Gradel. Maybe it’s coincidence, maybe it’s a PR stunt, or maybe, just maybe, Max Gradel is the player Neil Warnock is planning to spend money from Luciano’s sale on? Max Gradel has already admitted he’d like to return to Leeds and there can be few signings the fans would be happier with.