Becchio offer 'insufficient'
Leeds' preparations for Sunday's FA Cup tie with Tottenham have been overshadowed by talk of Luciano Becchio's future after he handed in a transfer request, but the player's agent claims the situation has only escalated because of an "insufficient" contract offer from the club.
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Manager Neil Warnock said on Friday that Becchio, United's 19-goal leading scorer, had rejected a new three-and-a-half "Premier League" contract and had asked to leave after a number of bids from overseas clubs were turned down.
But according to Becchio's agent, Horacio Rossi, the 29-year-old Argentinian wants to stay at Elland Road and would be turning down more money elsewhere to do so. He says that the efforts to keep him by GFH Capital, the club's new owners, are not enough.
Rossi claims that GFH, who took over the club from Ken Bates in December, have not "put in enough effort" to keep a player who considers Leeds to be his home.
Rossi said: "Luciano is on a spectacular run of form at the moment and for that reason Leeds came to us at the moment that Europa League clubs declared their interest in Luciano.
"As the club had declared that they would not accept any offer in this transfer window, I proposed to them the idea of extending Luciano's contract with Leeds until 2017 so that Luciano could end his career at the club.
"But for a new contract, there has to be an improvement. The offer that they made to us was insufficient. We respect the club's efforts, but it isn't enough.
"Leeds is like a home for Luciano. He feels respect and love for the club's fans. He has the best intentions of staying. He was willing to give up a lot of money to stay at Leeds."
19. Luciano Becchio
Warnock first gave a nod to a brewing situation with Becchio two weeks ago when he said the player's head had "been turned" by talk of a move.
Leeds said in a statement this week that Becchio was already their highest-paid player, but Rossi has also cast doubt on that.
He said: "Luciano has to think about his family. He has three children. He has to look for security for them. He is 29 years old, not 25. He is only a footballer once.
"Leeds say that Luciano is the most expensive player in their squad. They said on their website that he is the player who earns most but I don't know if this is true. It doesn't seem right to me. I don't know what (El-Hadji) Diouf, or (Ross) McCormack earn."
Rossi did praise Warnock for the "excellent" way in which he has handled the situation, but did add that he felt GFH Capital could have done more.
"Neil is a footballing man, a successful man and he has understood the situation well," Rossi said.
"It is my opinion that the new administration of Leeds United has not put in enough effort in their attempts to retain Luciano."
Becchio joined Leeds from Merida in the summer of 2008 after he was recommended by former Newcastle defender Marcelino.
Prior to that he had started out with Boca Juniors, while he also had spells with Mallorca, Terrassa and Barcelona B.
He has scored 86 goals for Leeds in 221 appearances and is on course for his best-ever season.
Warnock said on Friday he would see if the player's head was right to be involved for Sunday's fourth-round tie.
GFH Capital were contacted for a comment but had yet to respond.