Sunday Times journalist, Duncan Castles last night claimed that Leeds United may be forced to sell Max Gradel if a suitable offer is received.

Speaking on Twitter, Castles revealed that Leeds United had made a contract offer to the Ivorian but that it was some way short of the £25,000 a week his agent had demanded – that figure is believed to be £14,000 more than the club’s next highest earner.

Following the revelation of the wingers wage demands, I asked Castles if he thought Max’s sale was now inevitable, to which he replied with the following;

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I know many Whites fans will be extremely disappointed to hear of more problems with contract negotiations and insist Leeds United are being ‘short sighted’ and ‘showing a distinct lack of ambition’ by not shelling out to keep the best players at the club.

Generally, I’d agree with that school of thought. Especially in current circumstances with millions of pounds being spent on a pointless vanity project on the side of the East Stand. But £25,000 per week is a ridiculous amount of money for a Championship player – even one of Max Gradel’s calibre.

In fact, £25,000 isn’t just a lot for a Championship player but it’s more than the average Premier League player was earning just two years ago.

It’s easy to argue that Max Gradel is a rare case and that certain players wages will always be considerably higher than others, but Leeds United are already operating on a relatively small profit these days with no noticeable investment coming from anywhere.

If we take an educated guess at Gradel’s current earnings and say he’s on £8,000 p/w, then an increase of £17,000 per week to meet his demands would cost the club £884,000 per year.

And if Gradel deserves such a hike in wages, then surely Robert Snodgrass does too? As does Luciano Becchio and Jonny Howson. By the time we’ve signed these four up on long term contracts, the club’s wage bill will have increased by at least £2.5-3 million pounds per year with no guarantee of promotion and increased revenues.

The reality is that our current situation – without the benefit of a sugar daddy or parachute payments – means we can’t gamble and offer these big money, long-term deals in case we don’t get promoted in the next couple of years, or worse still, find ourselves heading in the opposite direction once more.

Ken Bates is running Leeds United with a minimal risk strategy. Ultimately, it means that players are signed on short term, low cost contracts, meaning that if the worst does happen, we won’t see a repeat of our last relegation.

Unfortunately, the minimal risk strategy can often be one of minimal reward too. Players like Max Gradel and Jermaine Beckford can run their contract down and leave for nothing – or next to nothing as the case may be with Max. But you can’t sign every player to a 4-5 year contract hoping they turn out to be worth millions, because the reality is, most of them won’t.