Leeds United have stepped up their bid to sign former hero Alan Smith by enquiring what wages the former England international will accept to seal a return to Elland Road.The 30-year-old has a year remaining on his £60,000 per week contract at Newcastle United but has been told he can leave as Alan Pardew looks to remodel his squad with a more youthful feel.As part of their attempts to get Smith off the wage bill, Newcastle are willing to release Smith on a free transfer and subsidise his wages to the tune of around £30,000 per week.Even with such a substantial discount, however, Leeds would be unable to afford to make up the difference – a point that has been made to the player’s representatives by the United hierarchy in recent days.
Smith is understood to be receptive to United’s approach, even if it means taking a pay cut. As a consequence, Leeds are much more hopeful of pushing a deal through than was the case even a fortnight ago. If the Rothwell-born striker-turned-midfielder does re-join United, supporter opinion is likely to be divided with some still being angry at his decision to sign for bitter rivals Manchester United following Leeds’s relegation in 2004.
As a consequence of the ill-feeling that still exists among some supporters, Smith was jeered by the visiting Leeds fans throughout their side’s friendly at St James’ Park in 2009.
A good number of United fans are, however, much more happy at the prospect of signing a player who helped Newcastle to promotion from the Championship in 2009-10.